Businesses fail to fully exploit ERP

Published on the 18/05/2015 | Written by Beverley Head


ERP

Australian enterprises invest millions of dollars each year on ERP platforms – but under-use of the investment is widespread according to recent research…

Although more than 90 percent of Australian organisations have an ERP solution, two thirds of chief information officers acknowledge that less than half of the functionality of those platforms is currently being used.

The Telsyte Australian Enterprise Software Market Study 2015, which surveyed 263 Australian CIOs or their equivalent also found that 48 percent of organisations have neither web-based nor mobile access to their ERP, effectively chaining users to their desks in order to use the software, even though 80 percent of respondents said that they had mobile workers to support.

The research sampled only Australian CIOs, but Telsyte is considering extending it to New Zealand next year.

Of course there are many other instances of software deployed which is not fully utilised – there are, for example, very few people who would use all the functions in a system such as Microsoft Word.

However, according to Rodney Gedda, senior analyst with Telsyte, ERP investment is not like word processing or an app to boost the productivity of an individual; it is aimed at the productivity of the enterprise. “When you have an ERP the cardinal sin is to not use it…the last thing you want is people going back to spreadsheets.

“We should be concerned that only six percent of CIOs think that their organisation takes advantage of more than 80 percent of the functions of the ERP. It’s not sustainable to implement software and not take advantage of it.”

The survey also revealed that despite the market hype from vendors, only 16 percent of CIOs surveyed were using cloud-only deployments of ERP. The overwhelming majority were still on-premise.

Gedda said that part of the problem could be to do with the usability of some older ERP deployments, but he warned that “it’s naive to think if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.

Any encouragement of enterprises to spend on new software would be music to the ears of Craig Charlton, senior vice president of software vendor Epicor Asia Pacific – sponsor of the research.

Commenting on the Telsyte findings he said that modern ERPs were designed to provide mobile access to ERP data where some older legacy platforms might struggle to support mobility.

“ERP needs to change and in some respects it’s like turning the Titanic,” said Charlton, adding that Epicor had overhauled its entire portfolio of solutions.

He said enterprises needed to do the same to support modern work practices and employee expectations. “Hell, a kid coming out of university – you tell them it will take a week to learn how to enter a purchase order into the ERP – that has them scratching their head.”

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