SAP clear frontrunner in Belgian financial applications

Around 86 percent of Belgian company sites with 50 or more employees use a software solution for financial administration. This might involve a standalone solution, or a module from a more comprehensive ERP solution. The use of financial software has been at the aforementioned 84 percent for the last three years now. For the remaining 16 percent, the financial administration is either provided by an external party, or might be performed at a sister or parent location within the company itself. The financial solution most cited by far concerns SAP software. We encounter financial software from this German manufacturer with 30 percent of all sites interviewed (50+), and we find only one other vendor of financial solutions with more than 10 percent of sites, namely Microsoft Dynamics (12 percent). Customised solutions, developed either internally or externally, are still used in around 11 percent of Belgian commercial sites. This is according to an analysis by Computer Profile based on more than 3,500 interviews with IT officers of Belgian company sites from the public and commercial domain.

Compared with a year ago, if we look at the different suppliers there a no major shifts. A clear trend for the use of financial customised solutions is in fact visible, namely a downward one. Around 11 percent currently admit to using a customised solution, while a year ago this was 13, and four years ago that was 17 percent.

Location of financial solutions

Besides the differences per region, which are presented in the figure, differences in the penetration figures for the various vendors are also visible for the distinct market segments. NRB software is thus more common in the public sector (government, education and care) at 18 percent, where SAP and Exact are at numbers 2 and 3 with 14 and 18 percent. Sites in the “Multinationals” segment use SAP financial software to a large extent (70 percent), with Oracle and customised solutions making up the top 3 (11 and 9 percent). Microsoft is more clearly prominent in the “National Enterprises” segment, under which company sites with 250 to 2500 employees in Belgium fall. SAP is also the solution most used at these locations with a penetration of 36 percent, although Microsoft pointedly starting to make inroads here with a penetration of 17 percent, while customised solutions are still used by 15 percent. In the “Medium Sized Businesses” segment – 50 to 250 employees – SAP is number 3 with a penetration of 13 percent. We encounter customised solutions in this segment at 16 percent of the sites, and the here the largest group of financial application is formed by Microsoft with a penetration of 12 percent.

The use of financial software still says nothing about the site where this solution is run, and usually managed. If we zoom in with the sites interviewed on the way his has been arranged, it becomes clear that 50 percent of Belgian company sites still claim to use a financial package running on server at their own location. For around 29 percent of sites, it is the case that they use a financial solution physically running at another location that still belongs to their own organisation (parent/sister location). Around 13 percent of Belgian company sites state using a financial solution hosted by an external service provider or run directly from the cloud (private or otherwise). This this case, several solutions might be used at one site that can run at different locations.

HR software

For HR solutions, Computer Profile applies the same approach as for financial institutions. To record the most popular HR solutions, Computer Profile looked on the one hand at separate HR solutions mentioned by the interviewed IT managers, and on the other hand at ERP applications in use amongst company offices with at least 50 employees because these will also usually include an HR functionality.

Location of HR solutions

A clear distinction for HR solutions is clearly discernible compared with financial solutions. Around 35 percent of Belgian company sites (with 50 or more employees) state using an HR solution hosted by an external service provider or run directly from the cloud (compared with 13 percent for financial applications). Around 46 state using an HR solution running at their own site, and around 27 around 27 percent use an HR solution running at an affiliated location. Perhaps striking is the relatively low usage of hosted/cloud HR solutions in the Belgian public domain, with the most emphasis still being on solutions running locally in this segment. For the Multinationals segment, it would primarily appear to be the case that the applications are consolidated and centralised within the organisation itself, with more than half of the sites in this segment stating that the HR software used runs at a sister/parent site. The use of HR software running in an external service provider’s data centre (hosted or cloud) is the greatest with sites in the segment “National Enterprises” and in the segment “Medium Sized Businesses”.

Per segment

Somewhat striking is the comparison with the previous two years at the location where the HR software is run, which reveals that hardly any shifts are discernible in that period. Whereas in 2016 HR solutions hosted or run in the cloud are used at 35 percent of all sites, in 2015 that was around 34 percent, and was also 34 percent in 2014. The use of HR software integrated locally and the use of HR software running at an affiliated location has remained almost the same in the last three years. By way of comparison: the same analysis was performed in the Netherlands, where is turned out that the use of on-premises HR is still falling substantially, while the use of cloud/hosted HR is still on the increase.

Besides dedicated HR software, the use of ERP software with integrated HR modules was also examined for the use of software with HR functionality. The majority of said HR solutions in that case concern SAP HR software, and we encounter this vendor with almost one third of Belgian company sites (with 50 or more employees). Customised solutions in the field of HR still occur with nearly 14 percent of Belgian sites. 4 of the 5 customised solutions have been developed internally, with 1 in 5 thus externally developed customisation. We also encounter the HR software of SD Worx and Microsoft at more than 10 percent of Belgium sites, with all other vendors being found at 6 percent or fewer of sites.

Looking at the development in penetration of the various vendors we see a slightly rising line for SAP in the last five years, with the use of customised solutions having fallen slightly in that period and the other vendors showing a relatively stable picture.