ANZ: SAP customers demand better ROI

SAP users are still fighting to fully justify their investment in the enterprise management software to senior management, according to newly released customer satisfaction data.The figures, released at the SAP Australia User Group plenary conference in Melbourne, show that on the whole SAP users are a relatively contented bunch.

SAP users are still fighting to fully justify their investment in the enterprise management software to senior management, according to newly released customer satisfaction data.

The figures, released at the SAP Australia User Group plenary conference in Melbourne, show that on the whole SAP users are a relatively contented bunch. Overall satisfaction ratings have risen from 77 percent in 2003 to 88.5 percent in 2006.

SAP ANZ managing director Alan Hyde said that while he was pleased with the figures, a number of problem areas were still evident. "You're telling us your senior management wants to be sure you're getting the maximum value out [of] your investment," Hyde said during the opening keynote for the conference. Demonstrating business value and measuring ROI was still a major challenge, he said.

The user interface, a perennial source of discontent amongst SAP users, was also a common criticism. "The ease of use of products in some areas has still got a way to go," Hyde said.

Account servicing needed improvement, he added: "If we're going to grow as a business, we can't be difficult to deal with." Education was also singled out: "We need to go further on the education front. One of the things we could do better is deliver the right courses in the right time-frame."

SAP's own internal research shows that just 25 percent of local customers have begun the transition onto its most recent ERP 2005 platform. "While we haven't got any hard targets, I'll be disappointed if that doesn't approach 50 percent within a year," he told ZDNet Australia in an interview. The biggest barrier to that would be the availability of expert deployment staff, he predicted.

According to research firm IDC, SAP claimed 21 percent of the Australia and New Zealand software market in the first half of 2006. The company wants to increase that share by selling its BusinessOne products into smaller enterprise. SAP has recently advertised for fifteen extra account managers as part of that push.

Another element of SAP's local expansion plans is a renewed attack on the government market. The company will sponsor a mini-conference in Canberra later this year, which it plans to hand over to SAUG if interest levels justify further repeat sessions.

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