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IT leaders focus on enterprise software to drive cost savings

ERP and supply chain software are among the big-ticket investment areas in 2024, and managing these projects is a top priority

The 2024 Technology spending intentions study shows that over half (53%) of EMEA IT decision-makers say project management is their top business applications priority of 2024, followed by enterprise resource planning (ERP) at 50%.

The survey suggests organisations are optimising workflows with intelligent process management tools, boosting efficiency and squeezing out waste in a cost-sensitive year. Business process automation is being used to streamline repetitive tasks.

The goal for every business is to stay ahead in a dynamic market, minimise waste and reduce its environmental footprint.

ERP and supply chain software is more complex, and evolving towards seamless integration, automation and data-driven insights, empowering businesses to modernise their software, optimise operations, make informed decisions and react to market changes in real time.

Sound project management is key to achieving a successful implementation and roll-out of modern enterprise systems. Of the 83 IT decision-makers who are investing in project management, the top three areas are project planning (53%), business process automation (52%), and collaboration and communications (51%).

Economic uncertainty necessitates agile forecasting, planning and scenario modelling. Developments in financial business software show there is a trend towards automation, data-driven insights and integration. These promise to empower agile decision-making in a dynamically changing market.

The survey shows that two-thirds (66%) of IT decision-makers in EMEA plan to make significant investment over the next 12 months in ERP. The second-biggest area of planned investment is the supply chain (46%), while governance and regulatory compliance is third (41%).

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When asked about the customer-centric tools they plan to deploy over the next 12 months, North American IT decision-makers had generative AI (GenAI) tools top of their list of priorities, while in EMEA, customer services tools were top of the list (34%). In EMEA, GenAI, chatbots and customer relationship management take second place (29%).

CX [customer experience], broadly understood, is at the heart of companies’ business growth plans, with security, data governance and operational efficiency to the fore, alongside ever-mounting interest in the creative possibilities of artificial intelligence in contact centres, CDPs, and digital experience platforms,” said Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Brian McKenna.

In terms of HR and talent management investment, IT decision-makers in North America and Europe both have on-boarding as their top priority in 2024, followed by employee performance management, while in North America, the second-highest priority for investment is workflow management.

Learning and skill development techniques continue to evolve, with more personalised courses, augmented reality and virtual reality capabilities, and gamification software fostering growth. However, in terms of prioritising investments in HR, learning management and skills dropped one place compared with 2023 among EMEA IT decision-makers. In the US, learning and skills dropped six places in terms of investment priorities. 

Employee wellness is growing in importance in both regions. Among EMEA IT decision-makers, 39% say they are investing in that area this year.

Overall, the survey found that AI and automation are rapidly transforming the role of HR, including streamlining administrative tasks such as paperwork, payroll, scheduling, onboarding and performance reviews.

Read more on Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software

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