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CIOs say ERP systems considerably underutilized

From CIO Insight: A survey of 300 senior IT professionals corroborated something we’ve been seeing for the past few years: most ERP systems are dramatically underutilized in terms of functionality.

The survey, conducted by Accenture and targeted at senior IT pros across North America and the UK, yielded some interesting facts:

  • Most organizations use only 64% of their ERP system’s core functions
  • 50% say they don’t need the capabilities provided by their ERP systems (Ed. note: is this because they truly don’t need them, or because they don’t know they exist or how they can benefit the business?)
  • One-fifth say they don’t make use of all the functionality due to lack of time to learn how to apply the features
  • 31% use ERP systems in half or less of the organization
  • 37% of UK companies and 27% of North American companies have little or no data sharing with their customers
  • Only 19% have fully integrated their ERP system with customers’ systems
  • 77% believe emerging Web 2.0 technologies will have a positive impact on future ERP usage
  • 28% widely use SaaS throughout their organization
  • Generally, most believe that more than half of current ERP systems will be replaced by new technologies
  • 76% say ERP systems provide a competitive advantage and strategic value to their organizations
  • 87% believe that spending on ERP systems, including new technologies like SaaS, will increase or remain steady in the future

From our experience with both traditional ERP (PeopleSoft) and SaaS (Workday) customers, the survey is spot-on.  On the ERP side, we find many clients don’t use their systems nearly as well as they could; in fact, this drove us to create a packaged service, called PeopleSoft Value Optimization [PDF], that is focused squarely on helping customers get the most out of their existing ERP investment.  It’s quite literally as simple as that, and our customers are glad someone can help them stretch their already-spent ERP dollars further.

As a closing tangent, this entire topic is a testament to the value of simplicity in engineering (I’m going to avoid the word elegance, even though it’s likely more apropos).  No matter how robust you make something, if it’s difficult to implement and maintain, most won’t bother with the upper echelon of advanced features.  It’s true for ERP, photo manipulation apps, and mobile phones.  As technology continues to infiltrate every corner of our lives, it will be true for most everything.

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