Activities related to both the introduction of new information solutions and expansion of systems already in place have been picking up steam. The trend will gain even more momentum next year.
Figure 1: Most frequently implemented projects in the last 2 years (% of respondents) Here is what the data from this study show: What have been the most commonly implemented applications in the last 2 years? As in our previous survey, most of the currently surveyed companies have implemented projects related to introducing and upgrading ERP systems (Figure 1). In 2015, however, new implementations had a higher relative share compared to the year before. In 2014, the ratio between the projects for renovation and expansion of built ERP, and those introducing new systems was 3:1, whereas, at present, it is 2:1. It is also worth noting that in the last 2 years CRM systems have been implemented and developed considerably more often than in previous periods – 34% of the respondents report such initiatives, compared to 18% in our previous survey. The classes of corporate solutions that have been the subject of great interest in the last 2 years also include warehouse management systems (updated by 28% vs.18% before), applications for automation of specific activities (34% vs. 19% before), mobile solutions (implemented by 28% of companies vs. 23% before). A slight decrease was accounted for in the introduction and development of BI systems – 20% of the participants in the survey worked on such projects compared to 23% of the respondents last year. Overall, it can be gathered that both the introduction of new information solutions and the expansion of systems already in place have marked an increase this year, though not a drastic one. How are IT projects implemented? Purchasing a ready-made solution and hiring a specialized company for its implementation remains the most popular approach to the development of the information environment, applied by 62% of respondents (Figure 2)
Figure 2: How do organizations develop their information systems? (% surveyed) The second position is shared by two approaches applied by nearly half of the respondents (43%) – these are the development and implementation of internal resources and the use of cloud services. However, the independent implementation of IT projects has become significantly less popular of a solution, compared to the previous year (43% vs. 55%), while the use of cloud services has shown a significant increase that was even higher than expected (43% vs. 27%). In fact, the introduction of new information solutions in the form of cloud services (SaaS) was included in the list of approved approaches for implementation and development of the information environment only a year ago; still, this practice has already become a reality in pretty much every other company. What are companies doing to keep the cost of enterprise software under control? CIO magazine‘s survey, conducted in February, indicated, for the first time in the last 5 years, that cutting costs is not a major priority for most organizations in Bulgaria. However, 64% of the surveyed IT managers noted that the challenges of reducing operating costs, and adopting an enterprise software, while maintaining the level of services provided, remain on the agenda. In this setting, 67% of the surveyed organizations (compared to 64% last year) are implementing projects aimed at streamlining the corporate IT architecture, 43% are reviewing the portfolio of planned projects for the introduction of new applications and information systems, 43% are streamlining the set of applications used and another 43% are migrating their applications to new platforms (Table 1).
Table 1: What software cost reduction measures are in place in your organization? It is worth noting that the transition to service-oriented architecture (SOA) and the use of cloud services at this stage are much more commonly used as a way to reduce the cost of enterprise software than in our previous study – they are currently applied by 33% of companies compared to 18% last year. What are the challenges to the implementation of IT projects? At the beginning of 2015, funding projects for the development of the information environment was the number one challenge for Bulgarian organizations. At the same time, the problem is more pronounced than last year – at present it is valid for 67% of respondents compared to 45% last year. This result is largely due to the closure of some European programs, which previously facilitated the provision of funds for the implementation of information systems (Table 2).
Table 2: What are the biggest challenges related to the projects for implementation and development of business management systems in your organization? (up to 7 answers allowed) In addition, 57% of organizations face serious difficulties in terms of unrealistic time estimates for IT projects, as well as data conversion and integration. A third group of problems, valid for 43% of the respondents, refers to the need for compliance with inherited systems and insufficient user engagement. Despite all the challenges listed, the data from the survey show that, by and large, Bulgarian organizations already have a fairly high level of expertise, ensuring that most tasks with regards to building the information environment can be successfully completed. Fewer and fewer companies (only 24% compared to 36% before) are facing difficulties in choosing an information solution or building an appropriate IT infrastructure for it. Only 19% of respondents have problems with consumer training and only 10% have difficulty interacting with IT providers. None of the participants in the study reported problems with the management of IT projects and the choice of competent implementers. The higher level of maturity in terms of the use of IT in Bulgarian organizations is also evident from the new round of challenges outlined for the first time in this study. 24% of respondents place better control of change management processes, ensuring the evolution of implemented solutions and focused measurement of the results of IT projects among the tasks that their companies have to deal with. The fact that these challenges are getting attention shows that corporate IT users in our country are no longer satisfied with information systems that simply work, but strive for IT solutions that provide maximum benefits for their business. The prospects for 2015-2016? The answers of the participants in our study give us reasons to expect that the next 2 years will be a period of moderate, yet more active development of the information environment, compared to the previous two. By the end of 2016, the surveyed organizations plan to implement an average of 2.4 projects for implementation and renewal of business management systems. For comparison, in our study a year ago, this indicator was 1.7, and 2 years ago – 1.5.
Figure 3: Planned projects for implementation and development of information systems (% of respondents) As shown in Figure 3, the plans for the introduction of each of the popular classes of business software (ERP, CRM, BI, etc.) are more ambitious than in our previous study, or at least remain at the same level. If these plans are implemented, we can expect a rise in the implementations of BI and CRM systems, mobile solutions and cloud services. Actually, it is no surprise that 38% of respondents intend to implement a BI project, 33% plan to implement mobile solutions and 19% are preparing to launch a CRM project. The value of business information is growing, and organizations that have already managed to put their reporting data in order, and have learned to store and process it, are increasingly enthusiastic about using business analysis and forecasting software, applications that improve relationships with customers, etc. At the same time, interest in ERP systems remains stable. There aren’t many companies that build new solutions in this class, but for those that made ERP implementations 5-10 years ago, it is time to upgrade their systems. Not coincidentally, in each of the last 3 years, about 14% of companies in our country have been engaged in ERP projects. The article summarizes the results of CIO Bulgaria magazine’s traditional survey “6 questions about information systems in Bulgarian organizations”, which we have conducted for 10 consecutive year. Representatives of 21 companies from different sectors took part in this edition of the survey, responding to the CIO survey by filling in an online form. Author: Nadya Krasteva Source www.cio.bg