Economic fears fail to hold back upgrade plans

Many enterprises are continuing to plan major software projects and purchases, despite economic uncertainty, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

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Many enterprises are continuing to plan major software projects and purchases, despite economic uncertainty, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

Seventy-nine percent 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 percent 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 percent are set to refresh their customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and 37 percent are eyeing supply chain management (SCM) upgrades.

These particular results are based on answers from 191 respondents, according to Forrester.

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

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

Eighty-four percent 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 centralised decision-making," the study states. "However, the real organisational battle will be to reconcile major software decisions being made corporate-wide 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 percent of respondents intended to consider a five-year applications plan during 2008.