SOURCE: Ramco Systems

July 09, 2007 08:00 ET

Despite Millions Spent on Automation, More Than Half of Enterprises Still Rely on Manual Business Processes

Survey Reveals Enterprise Software Shortcomings Are Stunting Business Growth

LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ--(Marketwire - July 9, 2007) - Despite investing millions in ERP software to automate business processes, most enterprises are frustrated by inflexible software systems that often hinder real-time visibility into business operations. A recent Aberdeen Group report, "Aligning IT to Business Processes: How BPM is Complementing ERP and Custom Applications," which was co-sponsored by Ramco Systems, concludes that most "supply chain-intensive industries such as manufacturing, retail, and distribution/logistics say their ERP or best-of-breed supply chain solutions don't provide the functionality they want and need." As a result, more than 50 percent of the companies surveyed are turning to business process management (BPM) in 2007 "to help get the process right at the line-of-business level."

"Our customers are generally dissatisfied with the lack of flexibility in their existing ERP and supply chain systems. While these systems perform critical functions, they simply can't be adapted to the changing needs of the enterprise, nor can they be easily changed to meet specific customer requirements," said Barbara Saxby, chief marketing officer for Ramco. "The increasing popularity of business process automation speaks to the frustration that customers are feeling with inflexible systems and their inability to get the most from their ERP investments. With its domain expertise in manufacturing and history as an ERP provider, Ramco's process-centric approach combined with its Business Process Platform and consulting services provide customers with a clear path to extend their ERP systems to more business-driven applications."

Additional conclusions from the Aberdeen Group report include:

--  Only 15 percent of survey respondents believe their applications
    afford them the desired flexibility they need today.
--  When IT does not align with business applications, users resort to
    labor-consuming spreadsheets and manual processes, visibly raising the cost
    of goods sold and inherently lowering productivity due to non-strategic
    work.
--  There is a wider interest in BPM and business intelligence tools than
    in SOA middleware software, especially in larger companies.
--  More than two-thirds of supply chain-intensive industries, such as
    manufacturing, say their ERP systems impede visibility since they require
    customized workarounds.
    

"Our ERP system simply couldn't support the unique business rules, reporting needs and regulatory requirements of our customers," said Richard Sides, senior vice president, information technology at Preferred Meals, which prepares 650,000 meals a day for more than 2,000 customers, including schools, early childhood and senior centers, airlines, the military, and health care facilities. "But with the Ramco Business Process Delivery System we have the flexibility and agility we need to quickly and cost-effectively support each unique customer and take on new ones as needed. We have increased efficiency substantially, and have lowered our total cost of ownership by reducing costs and adapting quickly as business requirements change."

According to the report, companies are looking to BPM tools to create applications that:

--  Are flexible for end-users
--  Offer a user interface that spurs productivity
--  Map well to line-of-business requirements
--  Integrate with back-end ERP and other business process solutions
    
The report explains, "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." And the report concludes, "2007 is shaping up to be the year of BPM."

About Ramco Systems

Ramco is a global provider of software and services that create agile global-class business applications for a variety of enterprises. Ramco's Business Process Delivery System (BPDS) enables fast, flexible deployment and change on demand of processes and applications for maximum flexibility -- so when your business changes your system changes too. Ramco Systems has offices in nine countries and over 300 customers in 1,000 locations worldwide across multiple verticals including banking, insurance, discrete and process manufacturing, aviation, transportation and logistics, healthcare, e-governance, retail, and more. The company is publicly held. For more on Ramco, visit www.ramco.com.

Survey Methodology

To compile its Benchmark Report, Aberdeen Group surveyed 125 enterprises, examining technology use, investment plans, pressures, and challenges related to BPM and service-oriented architecture (SOA) as integration catalysts that could improve business processes. Approximately 32 percent of respondents were from large enterprises -- annual revenues above US $1 billion, 31 percent were from mid-size enterprises -- annual revenues between $50 million and $1 billion, and 37 percent were from small businesses -- annual revenues of less than $50 million.

Ramco and the other report sponsors were solicited after the fact and had no influence on the direction of the benchmark report. Sponsorship allowed Aberdeen Group to make the findings public at no charge.