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Most Oracle ERP users don't know what they already have, survey says

Most Oracle ERP users seek new features from an ERP upgrade -- then struggle to keep track of them all, according to MorganFranklin.

The majority of Oracle ERP users are planning to expand their ERP investments -- but most aren't even aware of all the features they're already paying for, according to a new survey by MorganFranklin Corp.

The McLean, Va.-based business consulting and technology company polled attendees at the 2012 Oracle Collaborate Conference in Las Vegas to get a snapshot of how Oracle ERP is being used across industries. According to the survey, nearly 50% of attendees are using Oracle E-Business Suite. Of the rest, 26% are using Oracle JD Edwards, 19% are using PeopleSoft, and 10% are using other products.

Most of the attendees struggled with ERP upgrades and integration, MorganFranklin found. That finding went hand in hand with the next set of data from the survey, which showed that 58% of Oracle ERP users have plans to "expand the footprint" of their ERP systems through upgrades, installing new ERP features or buying other Oracle products. Of these respondents, 25% planned to upgrade their ERP software within the next year, according to the survey.

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"That number has been lower in past years," said John Hoebler, managing director at MorganFranklin. "Companies are starting to take the projects that were on the back shelf for a few years and reassess them, with a little more capital investment available now."

Many survey respondents expressed concern that their ERP systems were out-of-date. "Staying current is a big worry," Hoebler said. "Any application requires licenses, databases and upgrades to maintain, and a lot of customers are considering using [Software as a Service] SaaS ERP over on-premises to make this easier."

Oracle ERP features the great unknown

One of the most surprising results of the survey, according to Hoebler, was that only 10% of users feel they have full visibility into the features of their Oracle ERP systems. While 36% reported having a "good idea" of their systems' total functionality, more than half knew about only some features, had only a general idea of what their ERP systems could do, or had no knowledge at all. In fact, a full 14% had "no idea" what functionality was included in their ERP systems.

"Most people don't know what they are and aren't using in their applications; they just focus on day-to-day business and keeping the lights on," Hoebler said. "People are spending a lot of money on ERP, but are not getting the most out of it. Especially with on-premises systems, people are putting their energy into maintaining servers and licenses instead of using that energy to focus on the business. They're so focused on making sure the software doesn't break, they can't spend time to make it better."

Lastly, MorganFranklin asked how many Oracle users were aware of all the ERP customizations that had been implemented in their systems. While 62% of survey respondents reported either "absolutely" knowing about all their ERP customizations and 36% had a "good idea," 38% of users knew little or nothing about any customizations.

"Most ERP tools allow for customization, but companies don't keep track of these customizations," Hoebler said. "Not knowing which customizations are in place now can make upgrades more difficult later on."

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