Software the anathema to retailers, says report

Retailers are disappointed with the benefits they get from software, according to a survey. Fewer than 10 per cent of retailers said they got value for money from their software.

Some 80 per cent of retailers expected their software systems to have a measurable impact in terms of profitability and business growth, but the vast majority were disappointed.

Only 8 per cent felt they got value for money, and 61 per cent felt that they did get some value, but less than they were expecting. The remaining 31 per cent got no real value at all.

The list of retailers' gripes was a long one. Some 69 per cent felt their software providers did not understand their business objectives. Some 77 per cent felt their software providers were an expensive financial commitment that was causing them pain.

Managing cost was the top problem retailers cited, with 66 per cent listing this as a problem. Scalability, ease of use and integration with existing software were also listed.

'Software is a dirty word to many UK retailers. Many feel that inflexible software charging practices and perennial failure to deliver on promises with retail-specific solutions have become a noose around their necks,' said Phil Chapman, business development director at UCS Software UK, which sponsored the survey.

UCS Software is a South-African company that charges for software on a fixed-cost, monthly basis. More than 500 executives were polled for the survey.