European firms waste €9.6 billion (£7.8 billion) every year by failing to fully utilise their business software, according to research from ERP provider Sage.
The survey of 600 IT decision makers from across the EU found that on average each of the 222,628 mid-sized European firms waste just over €43,000 (£35,000) a year, while 88 percent of the businesses polled fail to make the most of their investments in business software.
The most common reasons given for under-deployment of software were 'a lack of business need for all features' (36 percent), followed by 'a dearth of user training' (25 percent).
Thirty-five percent of German respondents blamed duplication with other software, while just over a quarter (26 percent) of UK respondents ascribed it to lack of user demand.
Sage’s mid-market CEO Christophe Letellier said: "This should be a wake-up call for everyone. We're wasting almost €10 billion every year. It's a bit worrying."
He added: "Today we are often not making the right decisions when we buy business software. Many today are buying just as they did 10 years ago.
"But how the hell can you do that when the competitive environment has changed so dramatically? Ten years ago you wanted something to last for 10 years, now you want an agile, flexible system that will adapt to changes."
Letellier said that a failure to focus on the user of the software and attempts to build a 'perfect' bespoke system were responsible for much of the wastage.
He said: "You could not find a 100 percent perfect solution to your specific needs as a customer and business anywhere on earth.
"If you want to have that...you end up with a heavy and complex solution. They always take too long, are too expensive and are difficult to implement."
Letellier advised: "Having an 85 percent fit with 100 percent usage is better than a 100 percent fit with 85 percent usage.
"There is no point having a perfectly fitting system which some employees don’t use. You just need a good enough solution for your requirements...just look for good enough and you will see the cost of your IT drop dramatically. I am sure that we could save all of that €9.6 billion."
Sage launched the seventh version of its 'ERPx3' solution today. The company has spent four years developing the new software and according to Letellier, the focus was on making the software "incredibly easy to use" and accessible from any device.
Version 7, which will be available globally from June, provides an at-a-glance dashboard over the entire company. The ERP has a web interface based on HTML5 which supports multiple browsers and user personalisation. It also has a new search function and integrates with Microsoft Office.