The 80% of Software Most Businesses Don’t Use

In a previous entry, I started the thought that software was always free. In particular, this should include ERP software. Along the same lines, the next post was about the 80% of software most businesses don’t use, and the software gap.

Businesses Use Less Than 80% of Their Software

When I picked 80%, I was vaguely remembering a couple of studies–one on Word, and the other on accounting software. I found one of the studies I remembered. It was on Word, and it was done before the 2007 release of Office that introduced the ribbon bar (which I initially hated, but have grown to like).
The most interesting data points from the study are: (a) most people use less than 10% of Word’s features, and (b) The most commonly used commands in Word are: Paste (11% of the usage), Save (5.5%), Copy, Undo, and Bold! These five commands account for 32% of all Word usage.

What If Businesses Used More

This got me thinking. Word has some complexity, but it’s a pretty basic tool. Your average business ERP or account software package, however, is a lot more complex. What if the average business uses only 10% of their ERP software. Let’s be more generous. Suppose the business uses 40% of its business software (ERP, MRP, etc.). That leaves 60% unused.

We Don’t Need What We Don’t Use

Clients often tell me that, “We don’t need what we don’t use. The software does more that we will ever use.” Ok. Hold that thought. Next entry, I’ll talk more about how I’ve observed software companies developing software, but for now, just assume that I’m right here.
The features are in the software because enough people wanted them to convince the software company that it was worth the money to include them in the software. In most cases, the features are there because competing software companies included features like them in their software, and the software company wanted to catch up.

The Features in ERP and Accounting Software Are the Ones Most People Requested

This implies that the features you see in commercial software (accounting, ERP, or otherwise) are the most commonly requested features. They are the things that most people wanted! I think that in most cases, software features represent best (or at least most common) practices.
If this is true, why do most businesses use such a small portion of their software?