ERP costs under the spotlight

The Association of University Teachers has voiced concerns over the rising software costs of ERP installations in universities, writes Nick Huber.

An AUT spokeswomen said members were concerned over the amount of money spent by universities on large software projects and consultants. ‘When things go wrong and the consultants don’t fix it, the staff have to suffer,’ she said.

SAP leads the university ERP market with its R/3 application in place at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and is being installed in six others, including Leicester and Leeds.

Dr Bruce Charlton, a psychology lecturer at University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and an AUT member has branded the project a ‘disaster’. He added that he would be raising concerns over SAP implementation at an AUT meeting this month.

‘The AUT has been interested in this for a long time,’ he said. ‘I will be pressing the AUT to raise this at a national level.’ The university admitted its SAP project went £400,000 over budget.

The public sector has become an important source of revenue for SAP due to the Year 2000 related slump in demand for new software in the large company market.

The University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s was one of the German giant’s first forays into the university sector and has become its flagship client.

The university said the project was ‘good value’ and the implementation was completed on time, though one source said it overrun by six months.

SAP refused to comment.

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