IT Dissatisfied with ERP Systems

Survey of 100 senior managers shows highest level of customer satisfaction with PeopleSoft, worst with Oracle

After analyzing a matrix of 21 technical, financial, and business-related variables, Rethink Research Associates concludes that almost one-third of the IT customers surveyed are dissatisfied with the performance of their ERP system, while 19% found the software exceeded expectations. In only one area did more than one-quarter of respondents find ERP had outperformed expectations: customer support. Almost half (45%) were disappointed with the cost of implementation, while lack of measurable benefits was the second most-common complaint.

The survey, "CIO Survey: ERP Trends 2003," was conducted in July and asked 100 senior IT management level staff (CIO, IT director, senior IT manager, or the equivalent) in the UK, France, Germany, and Scandinavia for their opinions.

As the survey notes, "The dissatisfaction of the user base with the ERP industry is glaring – 43% of those with systems running would, if choosing a supplier again, not return to the same company, while only 30% would stay loyal and 27% are unsure.

The company analyzed user views in terms of performance, business benefits, and financial return, comparing targets with actual delivery. "The overall conclusion is thatcustomers have not found the benefits they wanted and there is a serious mismatch between their targets in selecting an ERP implementation, and what they have actuallyachieved. The most important targeted benefit was improved control over the business. 57% put that in first or second priority, but only 43% achieved it."

What about the highly-touted ERP benefit of better understanding of which business activities are profitable? It was the second most important priority for those surveyed, but not a single respondent put it in the top four benefits they'd actually achieved.

So what benefit did those surveyed realize? Faster financial reporting. For five of the 100 respondents, it was the only benefit achieved.

The variations between different vendors’ bases are pronounced, and the results may be a wake-up call for one vendor. "Peoplesoft commands the highest level of loyalty among its customers, followed by SAP, while JD Edwards, despite its high satisfaction ratings in certain performance areas, would not be sure of holding on to any of its users." At the bottom of the list was Oracle; 85 percent would pick a different supplier next time.

About the Author

James E. Powell is the former editorial director of Enterprise Strategies (