System customisations can and do kill ERP projects, according to enterprise software vendor, Unit4.

A/NZ director, Peter Simons, has seen this happen in shared services environments where "varying users' requirements can differ considerably."

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To back his claim, Simons point to a report by technology consulting firm, Eval-Source, that looked at some of the leading ERP solutions.

The report uncovered an inability by the traditional heavyweights to support system changes without complex code changes.

"Standardised systems, where changes can be made via the user interface and not through complex code changes, will become increasingly more commonplace this year and in the future," he said.

Changing marketplace

Simons said the challenge with leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions is the inability to cope with change.

High profile failed deployments, particularly in Cloud and shared services environments, are cited by Simons as proof of this.

"2013 was not a good year for the incumbent global ERP heavy-weights, Oracle and SAP," he said.

One example Simons highlighted was in Western Australia, where the State Government is estimated to be spending about $370 million in removing its Oracle ERP deployment.

"One of the key issues contributing to the cost blowout was found to be 'extensive customisations', specifically 1165 of them," he said.

As for SAP, Simons said the vendor has elected to wind down its Cloud-based ByDesign business, a solution he adds was originally positioned as the "ERP saviour for the mid-market."

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.