By Caitlin Burns, DocsCorp Content Manager.
Updating to new enterprise software isn’t something a business will do every day. It’s a process that involves time and, usually, money. Weeks can be spent on research, meetings with tech vendors, and feedback sessions with users. Then, when the software is chosen, there are budget estimates, pilot programs, and deployment plans that need to be drawn up.
The chaos and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic is likely to impact all kinds of business projects – including new software purchases. But there is also the question of whether an immediate need to work remotely made software investment an urgent, new priority.
We surveyed 500 project managers in the U.S. in March 2020 to see if software investment would stop while businesses rode out the crisis. This was a time when COVID-19 had forced the closure of many offices, restaurants, shops, and other companies across the country.
Despite the global pandemic, updating enterprise software remains a priority for many
Nearly half of all respondents (44%) plan to purchase new enterprise software this year – despite the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 crisis. And more than half (56%) say updating software that isn’t meeting their needs is still a priority for their business in 2020.
It’s likely a quick transition to remote working helped businesses realize which of their existing systems needed to be updated or modernized to support it. Where some planned software projects may have been postponed until next year, new projects to help agile and remote working would have become a priority.
Improving productivity is priority #1
60% of people we surveyed hope to boost productivity, rather than improve reporting or reduce costs with investment in new enterprise software.
Updating to new enterprise software can deliver many benefits. It can minimize the work needed to generate reports, allow staff to work faster using more intuitive workflows, and reduce turnaround times for clients.
Businesses likely realize while cutting costs can improve profit margins today, giving staff the tools they need to do their jobs more efficiently will deliver greater cost savings over time.
Budget is the biggest barrier
Our report found that budget is the most significant barrier to whether an enterprise software purchase will get the green light. User adoption and buy-in from management aren’t seen to be major obstacles to investment in software.
Underbudgeting and underestimating the time needed are common mistakes
56% of respondents said the last software purchase they made, as a whole, took longer than expected. Enterprise software purchases require an investment of people’s time. A single project could have an IT applications manager conducting research, a Head of IT overseeing and advising, and a group of staff testing and providing feedback. Failing to budget enough time to successfully complete a new software purchase can end up costing a business.
30% say their last purchase went over budget. A hasty or half-hearted evaluation and selection process can quickly blow out costs. For example, if the chosen software doesn’t work out, the costs can be two-fold because you must begin the selection process again.
To better understand why enterprise software projects were costing more and taking longer than expected, we asked respondents about their steps before purchasing and deploying new software.
43% didn’t organize a software demo with the vendor before deployment, and 49% didn’t run a pilot program. A software demo can work to confirm what you already know of the product and its features and allow you to visualize how the product will work in practice. A pilot program is a way to try the software before you buy it. It can give future users a better idea of how the software would work when rolled out across the whole business. Both are essential steps in navigating enterprise software selection.