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SAP users in U.K., Ireland ready to upgrade -- warily

A recent survey of SAP users in Ireland and the U.K. found that more than half plan to upgrade in the next 12 months, but they're not happy with the expense.

SAP CEO Leo Apotheker's prediction that all of the company's customers will have upgraded to ERP 6.0 by 2010 got some support from a recent user group study.

A survey conducted by the SAP U.K. & Ireland User Group found that more than half of organizations are planning to upgrade their SAP software over the next 12 months. Yet, while they're willing to go through the upgrade, most are not happy with the expense. Among respondents, 70% said they felt the cost of upgrading was too high.

The survey questioned 100 SAP users in Ireland and the U.K.

The disruption of day-to-day business was a major worry, with 93% saying they were concerned or very concerned about the length of time it takes to do an upgrade. Seventy-nine percent were concerned about system downtime, and 59% were concerned with losing data.

For more on SAP upgrades
Learn how to build a business case for an SAP technical upgrade
See why some think the upgrade to ERP 6.0 is easier than past releases

Get all your SAP upgrade advice in the ECC 6.0 upgrade guide

There is apparently a long way to go for the vendor to inspire users to upgrade to ECC 6.0. Only 35% of organizations surveyed were on the latest version of SAP.

As is often the case, it is maintenance that is forcing customers to upgrade -- 62% cited the end of their current maintenance period as the main reason for upgrading, with new application functionality cited by 26% and technical functionality by 12%.

SAP's push toward enhancement packs is getting through to users. Users felt enhancement packs were an easy and cost-effective way to upgrade, and 92% said they thought other software vendors should adopt the model.

"The research highlights that many organizations still have a lot of concerns when it comes to upgrades," Alan Bowling, chairman of the SAP U.K. & Ireland User Group, said in a statement. "With IT departments looking for short-term cost reductions, some are limiting activities such as upgrading their software. However, organizations need to be wary that delaying their upgrade cycle doesn't cost them more in the long term, because older versions may require more maintenance and management and have limited capability."

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