For many IT organizations, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems make up a large part of the application portfolio, and understanding the support requirements of these systems is important for managing overall staffing levels within IT.
ERP systems can be major investments requiring substantial effort for implementation. Yet many organizations do not realize that over the life of an ERP system, the total cost of ownership is composed largely of ongoing support. While initial license fees and consulting services required to implement the system are one-time investments, the cost of support personnel recurs year after year.
As shown in Figure 1 from our study, ERP Support Staffing Ratios, there is a wide range of ERP support staffing ratios for installations of all sizes. At the median, there are 60 users per ERP support staff member, rising to 140 users per ERP staff member at the 75th percentile. At the 25th percentile, each ERP staff member supports just 30 users. Given this data, it is evident that other factors influence the level of ERP support staffing.
In the full study, we analyze the ERP support staffing ratio by multiple factors, including size of installation, sector, maturity of installation, and upgrade frequency. We then compare ratios for Oracle E-Business and SAP ERP systems with the composite ratio for all other systems. Finally, we provide recommendations on optimizing staffing levels.
Our definition of user refers to “named users” (individuals who have a username and password for the system) and not “concurrent users” (the number of users logged into the system at one time).
Our definition of ERP support staff includes programmers, business analysts, project managers, database administrators, help desk personnel, systems programmers, ERP end-user reporting specialists, and training and documentation personnel, among others. We include support staff in the IT organization as well as support staff in the user organization. Our ERP support staff headcount also includes temporary contractors in addition to permanent employees. All support staff are counted on a full-time equivalent basis.
This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, ERP Support Staffing Ratios. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).
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