Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies say that updating underperforming or legacy enterprise software is a priority for them in 2020, according to a survey being released today.

Their main objective in purchasing new enterprise software, more than 60% of them say, is to improve productivity, as opposed to reducing costs (20%) or increasing reporting capabilities (17%).

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Conducted by the document productivity software company DocsCorp, the survey polled 500 U.S. project managers during March, when businesses were already responding to the escalating coronavirus crisis.

The findings suggest, the company says, that not only has COVID-19 not adversely affected investment in enterprise software, but that it may also have caused some companies to realize that their existing systems were not ready to support the transition to remote working.

Asked in the survey if updating underperforming or legacy software is a priority for their business in 2020, 56% answered yes. Forty-four percent said they plan to purchase new enterprise software this year.

The survey also asked about the biggest barriers to purchasing new enterprise software. By far, budget was the biggest obstacle, cited by by 54% of respondents, followed by user adoption (81%), buy-in from management (58%), time constraints (33%) and unrealistic deadlines (32%).

Even though budget was seen as an obstacle, when asked if their most-recent enterprise software had gone over budget, only 37% said it had. On the other hand, 56% said their most-recent purchase had taken longer than expected.

With regard to the purchasing process, more than half of those surveyed (57%) organized a demonstration of the software with the vendor before purchasing the product, and half of them ran a pilot program before deploying the software.

The fact that more companies did not have demonstrations or pilots may explain why some companies went over budget and underestimated the time frames, DocsCorp says.

In conjunction with the release of the survey, DocsCorp has published a new guide, A Straightforward Approach to Navigating the Software Selection Maze. Written by Chris Doig, a consultant in enterprise software selection, the guide provides advice on deciding when to update software, evaluating and selecting software, and deploying it within an organization.

“We hear directly from IT managers, CIOs, and CTOs that they want to update and modernize their core systems so they can take advantage of breakthrough technologies like artificial intelligence,” Ben Mitchell, DocsCorp VP of global commercial operations, said in a statement announcing the survey. “Given the current climate, they also want to be able to support agile and remote working – and not all of their current enterprise software will support that.”

While the survey did not specifically target law firms or legal departments, legal professionals are a key customer group for DocsCorp. The survey’s findings regarding enterprise software purchasing are likely as applicable to law firms and other legal organizations as to other types of enterprises.