SAP users delay software upgrades

Many UK users of SAP enterprise software are concerned about the cost and time taken to upgrade their systems, a survey has revealed.

Many UK users of SAP enterprise software are concerned about the cost and time taken to upgrade their systems, a survey has revealed.

Nearly half (46%) of user organisations polled are not planning to upgrade their SAP software in the next 12 months.

Most (93%) respondents said they were either concerned or very concerned about the length of time taken to perform an upgrade.

Some 79% said they were concerned about system downtime caused by software upgrades and 59% said they were concerned about losing data.

Cost was another top concern, with 70% respondents saying the cost of upgrading was too high because of budget constraints in the current economic climate.

More than two-thirds (68%) said that the time and money for training staff on the software upgrades is also a challenge.

For these reasons, 85% said they struggle to get management support for software upgrades.

But, Alan Bowling, chairman of the SAP UK & Ireland User Group, said businesses should take care that delaying upgrades does not cost more in the long term.

"Older versions of software typically require more maintenance and have comparatively limited capability to support business change and growth," he said.

Only 35% of UK user organisations are currently on SAP ECC 6.0, the latest version of the software, the survey revealed.

This means many organisations are still on earlier versions of the software that do not support service-oriented-architecture (SOA), said Bowling.

"Without SOA capabilities that are good for cloud and integration with third party software suppliers, organisations will be left behind," he said.

According to Bowling, many user organisations are not aware of the business benefits of upgrading and how later versions limit the impact of upgrades.

"SAP's recently introduced enhancement pack model means businesses can upgrade to the functionality they need without touching the core systems," he said.

The business case for upgrades, said Bowling, is to be discussed in detail at this year's SAP UK & Ireland User Group Conference 2009 in Manchester, from 23 to 24 November.

"User organisations will also get the opportunity to see live examples of how other are benefitting from upgrading and keeping their software current," he said.

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