40% of companies running SAP are reluctant to update the software regularly, according to new research by Original Software, over concerns that the update process will cause disruption to business.
In the global survey of IT professionals at 60 firms with SAP installations about their approach to upgrading ERP applications, more than 80% of IT professionals in the survey reported that supporting the needs of the business was the critical success factor in any project. The same group also said that more than a quarter of updates exceed their budgets by about 25%.
Time is also a major factor- one third of update projects overrun by about five months, with testing and validation taking the longest when enhancing SAP.
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The greatest challenge to testing and validation is the quality of test scripts, followed by the availability of SAP users, and communication among members of the update team.
'The reason many IT teams are afraid of frequent SAP updates is not only the amount of time, effort and money necessary for testing and validating updates, but the risk of disruption to business operations,' said Colin Armitage, CEO of Original Software. 'For example, the last thing a company needs is to suddenly become incapable of collecting debts, which, sadly, is a scenario we have seen when companies have sub-standard testing processes.'
In a similar study in February this year, Original Software and its research partner UK Oracle User Group (UKOUG) found nearly three quarters (72%) of Oracle E-Business Suite users surveyed cited 'minimizing the risk of not supporting core business systems as their most important success factor when upgrading.
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That survey found that over a third (32%) of organisations using Oracle E-Business Suite had not yet upgraded.
'As this research shows, a high number of organisation still have their heads in the sand when it comes to the R12 upgrade,' said Armitage. 'This could leave them in a vulnerable position – the quicker they start preparing and putting plans into action, the better. Upgrades are becoming more and more prevalent in the business landscape- the more proficient organisations become at preparing for them and executing upgrade strategies, the better.'