Business Enterprise Software is designed to be an all-inclusive, fully integrated system that makes it possible for companies, from the largest to the smallest, to organize and manage their complete operational processes under one system. Business Enterprise Software is capable of taking data from every department throughout the business and integrating it into a central platform that permits easy, across the board access; and this is the ultimate goal of any company involved with such software. Sadly, after almost five decades and billions of dollars in investment, this goal has not turned into reality for most businesses.
In a survey of close to two thousand executives completed by Forrester at the end of 2009, five distinct reasons for this dissatisfaction surfaced. First of all, ninety percent of the respondents listed the high cost of ownership as a reason they were unhappy with their Business Enterprise Software. Accordingly, internal support requirements and maintenance contracts turned out to be much higher than expected, thereby eating up too much of the IT budgets. Again, almost ninety percent responded that the expense and disruption presented by necessary upgrades symbolized a top reason for dissatisfaction. Eighty-five percent said they were unhappy with the fact that “enterprise applications have been designed and implemented as functional modules, whereas the real end-to-end processes span multiple business functions." The need for too much customization because applications do not match business requirements was listed as another of the top problems. And, seventy-five percent of respondents mentioned inflexibility, particularly in legacy systems, as the fifth significant problem.
The result of the large gap between dream and reality has been that companies of every size and in every industry have made a thorough assessment of their Business Enterprise investments, and one thing is certain: companies are going to be doing research. They want answers to the following: What internal sacrifices will I be making in order to change software? Is this switch just a lateral move? Does this package offer more (costly) capabilities than what I need? Do I have the proper equipment to support the new technology? What does SaaS bring to the table?
Everything is being questioned -the answers? Change is going to come –for both the vendors and the customers. According to Philip Say, vice president for SAP Business Suite, "Enterprise software is going through a transformation in a very significant way." The future of Business Enterprise Software must include “clarity, innovation, enhancements without disruption, and timeless software.”
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