Research from 100+ SAP enterprises reveals that antiquated, customized applications are ubiquitous–and often a barrier to digital transformation
Pillir, the developer of the innovative EdgeReady Cloud rapid application development low-code solution for ERP- and SAP-centric environments, announces it has released its 2021 “Custom Code and Digital Transformations Market Survey,” The survey was commissioned to provide SAP-centric enterprises benchmark information to help understand the market-wide impact of customization on innovation. conducted by ASUG (Americas' SAP Users' Group). ASUG surveyed 110 SAP-centric enterprises to find out how their companies are using custom code in their legacy business applications. Conducted in the second quarter of 2021 and reflecting the views of professionals from across the US and Canada, the full report can be downloaded here and a webinar exploring the results of the survey can be accessed on demand here.
ASUG’s research revealed that 91% of business users in SAP environments rely on customized departmental applications to run their businesses, representing an overwhelming majority of participants. These custom applications facilitate vital functions such as inventory management, CRM, ordering systems, invoicing, accounting, and many other tasks. In addition, 45% of the applications in question were developed more than six years ago, which means these systems (and the business logic inherent in them) are antiquated by most standards.
Investigating Low-Code to Address Technical Debt
21% of the users surveyed said that excessive customized code is a barrier to innovation. As Pillir has long claimed, the existence of complicated, technologically-overwrought legacy IT environments is a major hindrance to digital transformation, making it expensive and disruptive for companies to convert their systems to cloud-based infrastructures—despite the urgent need to modernize. This is referred to as having “technical debt,” which companies are often at a loss to reconcile.
The survey provides additional insights into the status of SAP enterprise environments, much of which underscores Pillir’s strategy to help companies approach digital transformation through a specific low-code solution. Pillir’s EdgeReady Cloud rapid application development platform was created for this purpose, allowing companies with complex legacy ERP environments to dramatically speed the migration of business processes to cloud-based infrastructures. Rapid application development can execute transformation up to 20 times faster than traditional methods, at dramatically reduced costs, and with far less disruption.
Other survey findings:
- 33% of these SAP-centric enterprises are challenged to find adequate expertise to maintain and enhance custom code
- 63% of the surveyed companies think that custom code creates barriers to upgrading or migrating to new SAP offerings.
- 31% feel excessive custom code is a barrier to adequate security practices
“Almost every enterprise uses custom code. However, this research is the first to show the direct impact that legacy custom code has had on their businesses over time, and how this can impede modernization. Companies want to transform at the speed of business by modernizing their applications and making them cloud- and mobile-ready.” said Vaidya Aiyer, CEO at Pillir. “But the process of rebuilding custom code over the course of time can turn a lean ERP environment into a convoluted, overcomplicated drag on resources. This hampers efficiency, escalates risk, and increases the cost to maintain those applications.”
For example, Aiyer notes that after years of upgrades and patches, enterprises are finding it difficult to migrate to S/4HANA, especially in light of the shortage of skilled SAP developers. “A low-code integration strategy not only reduces disruption and maintenance costs in an SAP environment,” he continues, “it also accelerates the migration to S/4HANA, no matter which version of SAP a company uses, or what their stage in the digital transformation journey.”
“ASUG’s research continues to validate Pillir’s main contention: Enterprises with complicated custom business processes are undisputedly struggling with transformation, to the point where it’s become prohibitive,” said J.R. Butler, CRO at Pillir. “Pillir’s low-code solution has the unique ability to automatically convert archaic, complicated code to modernized programming, unraveling complexity and facilitating an easier migration to the cloud--which is a necessity in the new digital economy. It gives companies back the ability to innovate their systems on their own terms, incrementally if that’s what works best for them in achieving transformation.”