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US-based Oracle is one of the biggest providers of ERP software (Photo: Oracle)

Companies often have many - some more than 100 - enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, but most would like to settle for just one, according to a study of German mid-sized and bigger corporations.

The poll, conducted by consultants Detecon among German companies, found that more than 20 pc of them have more than 50 ERP systems. More than 80 pc of CIOs interviewed expressed a strong desire to lower that total substantially and standardize their software.

ERP, which brings together all the information available within a corporation and organizes it to make it a useful business planning tool, is considered a crucial factor in boosting efficiency.

Among the companies polled, 36 pc would like to have one common ERP system while 41 pc consider two-to-five systems  appropriate. Sixty-eight pc favor a common-vendor strategy.

Most of the CIOs interviewed would like to develop and implement a global consolidation template, using existing systems as their base. Almost half would like to make sure between 80 pc and 90 pc of all of their companies' processes are covered by such a common ERP system.

The manufacturing industry in particular is characterized by a multitude of ERP systems, the poll found. This resulted from the implementation of separate solutions for factories, locations, countries or divisions. More systems were added to the mix when companies were involved in mergers or takeovers.

Detecon is a unit of T-Systems, which is the business services division of Deutsche Telekom.

The study - in German - can be downloaded here.