ERP: Who's Running the Show? - Slide 6

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When asked specifically what free or low-cost Web-based applications respondents used as a workaround for poorly designed or hard-to-use enterprise software, a handful of document management and collaboration tools were dominant from a broad field of choices offered:

  • Google Docs was the most frequently cited online tool used instead of enterprise software, and was mentioned by 50 percent of 18- to 35-year-olds, followed by Google Cloud Connect and Google Sites.
  • Instant messenger services like MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger were mentioned by a minority of respondents. Dropbox, a controversial file sharing tool, was also mentioned by 20 percent of 18- to 35-year-olds.
  • Not surprisingly, 18- to 35-year-olds were least likely to indicate that they use no online tools instead of their company’s enterprise software.

In mid-2011, a study was conducted by IFS North America and Mint Jutras, among manufacturing executives and professionals of middle market to large manufacturers, to understand how usability challenges may cause individuals to work outside established enterprise software systems, generating lost value for the manufacturer. Working outside of enterprise systems results in barriers to the enterprise-wide visibility that ERP and other enterprise software are designed to provide, enterprise risk as work is performed outside of the security and traceability provisions of enterprise software, and places enterprise data in online repositories where data ownership and security are even more questionable.

The study focused on the degree to which corporate citizens will take action as the result of enterprise software usability challenges including the use of various types of PC-based software and the types of online free or low-cost applications.  Generational differences were also explored using four different age groups.

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