SOURCE: Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

June 06, 2007 11:37 ET

Aligning IT to Business Processes: How BPM Is Complementing ERP and Custom Applications

Identifying Top Pressure Driving Enterprise Organizations

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - June 6, 2007) - The need to support new, agile business processes is the top pressure driving enterprise organizations, according to the latest results from the BPM survey that provide the foundation for this new benchmark report from Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS).

The overwhelming concern from line of business executives and top management surrounds the lack of ROI in their ERP investments. Over half of the respondents (51%) -- mostly from small and mid-size organizations (SME) -- say their companies' ERP systems or best-of-breed supply chain solutions do not provide adequate functionality. Some application software, particularly custom applications common in the supply chain, retail areas, and on shop floors are not designed to adapt or react to the rapid business process change and distributed enterprise models on which enterprises operate today.

The report, "Aligning IT to Business Processes: How BPM is Complementing ERP and Custom Applications," is based on a survey of more than 150 organizations worldwide, which found that an overwhelming majority of organizations feel constrained in their applications' ability to meet customers' individual business requirements. The IT investments they have in place are insufficient to handle today's business needs.

"Over 50% of all companies have applications which force them to resort to manual processes to meet customer requirements," says Ralph A. Rodriguez, Aberdeen's senior vice president and research director for technology markets research, and the report's author. "These companies would be better off seeking vendors to provide composite applications that tie together point solutions to enable a flexible industry or company specific business process or in the case of small-to-medium size businesses (SMB) to utilize vendors who can extend their existing core investments in office tools, communication and document management systems. Over an application's lifecycle, BPM can deliver dramatically lower software maintenance costs due to the ease with which business units can change the process and key process parameters without massive IT reprogramming and testing."

The survey respondents reveal:

--  Only 15% of respondents have applications that afford them the desired
    flexibility businesses say they need today, meaning they can adapt quickly
    to most customer requirements. This is where businesses need to be to best
    meet today's business demands.
    
--  Over 51% of respondents employ manual processes to get the job done,
    implying that G&A costs are out of line, non-strategic work is being done
    within enterprises and that automation would lower these costs and increase
    productivity.
    
--  About 13% of respondents say their applications offer little or no
    flexibility in meeting individual customer service requirements.
    
--  While 21% of respondents say their applications force them to limit
    service offerings.
    
This report is made available at no charge due in part to the following underwriters: Appian, CTSpace, and Ramco Systems.

To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, please visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=4097

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.

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