Tech upgrades are in the pipeline

A new Forrester Research report suggests that despite the uncertain U.S. economy, many enterprises are continuing to plan major software projects and purchases.

Seventy-nine per cent of 215 North American “business process and applications professionals” surveyed said that they intend to upgrade some or most of their core enterprise applications within three years.

Forty-nine per cent of respondents plan to upgrade their enterprise resource planning (ERP) software in either 2008 or 2009, according to the report. Within the same time frame, 47 per cent are set to refresh their customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and 37 per cent are eyeing supply chain management (SCM) upgrades. These particular results are based on answers from 191 respondents, according to Forrester.

Seventy-six per cent of respondents said hardware and data center upgrades or migrations are a “priority” or a “critical priority” during the next 12 months. Sixty-five per cent said the same for developing a master data management (MDM) strategy.

This activity will largely revolve around a centralized point of influence, according to the study.

Eighty-four per cent of enterprises surveyed said their top IT officer was either “very influential” or has “complete authority” over technology purchasing.

“[F]irms appear to be satisfied with centralized decision-making,” the study states. “However, the real organizational battle will be to reconcile major software decisions being made corporatewide as the combination of senior line-of-business execs with significant authority and budget and the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model gives license to make application decisions without IT’s involvement.”

Forrester touts its framework for developing a long-term packaged applications strategy. The study found that only 20 per cent of respondents intended to consider a five-year applications plan during 2008.

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