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Advanced Computer Software PLC : Report suggests a mismatch between expectations and reality gives ERP a bad name in public sector IT projects

01/29/2013 | 06:57am US/Eastern

28 January 2013 - A mismatch between expectations and reality in public sector IT projects is to blame for giving enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems a bad name according to a SourceforConsulting report commissioned by Advanced Business Solutions (Public Sector & Enterprise Division). The report involved a survey of 100 IT and finance managers that use ERP systems within the UK public sector and the results were supported by interviews with 13 senior UK management and technology consultants.

The findings highlight that there is a mismatch between what pubic sector organisations expect from ERP systems and what is actually delivered, with 63% of the survey respondents admitting that their chosen ERP system didn't meet their expectations in at least one area.

Over a third of respondents spent more than they had expected on the implementation of their ERP system and 20% were disappointed by how the system met their needs without customisation. Just one in five of those surveyed would go through a similar ERP implementation again.

The report suggests that the negative feedback about public sector ERP implementations is largely due to a lack of clear operational objectives and a misguided belief that an ERP system is the answer to a public body's issues without considering other (potentially more suitable) IT options.

Dean Dickinson, Managing Director of Advanced Business Solutions (Public Sector & Enterprise Division), says, "It is worrying that so many public sector ERP implementations are being viewed negatively, although it does not come as a big surprise."

"An ERP system is often viewed by public sector professionals as the only solution to meet their IT needs, which is a myth. The result is that many ERP projects are implemented with insufficient consideration for the desired outcomes. It's therefore key for the public sector to start with an open mind when choosing an IT system, as a large-scale ERP implementation could simply be unsuitable and far too costly for their needs."

Iain Gravestock, Public Sector Technology Consulting Business Lead from consultancy firm, KPMG, agrees: "My first piece of advice to organisations saying that they want to buy ERP is to take a step back. Instead, they need to start with understanding what it is they want to achieve. What value will be delivered - defined both qualitatively and quantitatively? This is crucial. Then the organisation needs to consider all the options for meeting their objectives."

The full report - 'ERP in the public sector: Full steam ahead or the end of the line?' can be viewed here

Find out more about Advanced's 'ERP in the Public Sector' webinar

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