Ready to Upgrade Your ERP?
Leading ERP providers are always making strides to stay ahead of digital innovations and meet customer demands. Vendors release new versions of their software to give businesses exciting tools and improvements that can elevate their performance.
While ERP releases are intended to help customers, they’re often viewed as more of a hassle than an opportunity. Manufacturers and distributors struggle to determine when to upgrade their software. Many wait several years to upgrade in an attempt to save time and money, only to experience costly issues and inefficiencies down the line. Some upgrade whenever a new version is released, draining company resources and creating “upgrade fatigue.”
So what is the best approach to ERP upgrades? We put together this checklist to help you determine your ERP upgrade readiness and make the right decisions for your organization.
Maintenance and Upgrade Costs
One of the main reasons businesses delay upgrading is to avoid the costs. However, the perceived cost benefits of sticking to your current software might be deceptive. Sure, you won’t be spending money on an upgrade, but how much are you spending on maintenance or correcting errors? An upgraded solution is more reliable and efficient, so you can reduce these expenses. If you’re starting to notice lagging performance and other issues, you might want to upgrade now before your ERP starts requiring costly troubleshooting.
Perform a cost-benefit analysis to see if the expense of maintaining your current ERP outweighs the cost of upgrading. Here are some of the considerations you should make:
- Are processes slowing down? Is this impacting your profit margins?
- Are you experiencing errors or inaccurate information that jeopardize performance?
- How much do you spend on upkeep for your current ERP instance?
- Does the latest release from your ERP vendor include features that could add to your bottom line?
- Is it more fiscally feasible to upgrade now or later?
- What fees and costs are required to execute the upgrade? Hardware replacement? Add-ons?
Most ERP vendors will only offer support for recent versions of their software. Epicor, for example, requires customers to upgrade every two years to remain on active support. Though many businesses look at these kinds of support policies as a burden, Datix CEO Matt Schuval explains in an article for TechTarget that these guidelines are in place “to actually help customer stay current, relevant and competitive in their respective industries” because Epicor can allocate more resources to improving its solutions.
When you continue operating legacy ERP, you don’t just lose vendor support. You’ll have a harder time finding IT resources and experts to manage your outdated system. Plus, overtime, the software will be incompatible with modern technology, preventing you from expanding your IT infrastructure. It will also lack the necessary patches to safeguard your platform from cyberattacks. As you evaluate whether or not to upgrade your ERP, ask yourself these technical support questions:
- What is your vendor’s support policy?
- How long has it been since you’ve upgraded your software? Are you off maintenance?
- Have you had trouble receiving support for your system?
- Does your ERP have up-to-date patches and security features?
- Are you having trouble adopting new technology that is compatible or able to integrate with your current software?
In the fast-paced world of manufacturing and distribution, it’s critical to have the modern technology in place to gain an edge over your competition. Epicor continuously adds innovative features to help customers develop factories of the future. Epicor takes advantage of the latest advancements in AI, IoT and UX design to create intuitive dashboards, deepen insights and keep up with the complexities of the global marketplace. It also enhances existing modules to address user concerns and optimize performance.
The question is, do you need these capabilities? To determine if the new functionality available in the latest ERP release could benefit your company, consider the following:
- According to industry experts, what are the ERP trends for the coming years? What makes these advancements necessary for your business sector, and will an upgrade help you capitalize on new technology that can benefit your organization?
- Do the new ERP features fill any process or visibility gaps?
- Will UX improvements help you with training, onboarding and usability?
- Does your vendor offer demos or trial periods to help you determine if new features will add value to your enterprise?
Earlier ERP iterations don’t have the agility and scalability to support business growth. As you add locations, change processes or grow your customer base, your legacy software won’t be able to keep up. With each new release, your ERP architecture is updated to give you greater flexibility to improve responsiveness and scale your software to your expanding enterprise. An upgrade equips you with enhancements and modern features to keep up with increasing demands.
Many businesses with outdated solutions also struggle with process inefficiencies. As the system slows down or becomes unable to support growing datasets, users often implement tedious workarounds or go back to recording information in spreadsheets. This results in errors, inconsistencies and roadblocks, depleting the value of your ERP solution. These questions can help you determine if an ERP upgrade will help you eradicate current issues:
- Are you having trouble complying with regulations and standards?
- Are users wasting time managing paperwork and spreadsheets?
- Are bottlenecks and errors jamming your operational flow?
- Do you lack real-time visibility and transparency?
- Does your current system get in the way of expansion? Can you track multiple locations, global operations, complex supply chains, new product lines and a growing customer base?
- Are customers complaining of inaccuracies, delays or poor service?
- Does your ERP often freeze or take a long time to process data or execute basic tasks?
- Do recent versions of your ERP software include improvements that address your specific shortcomings?
We know it can be difficult to decide whether to upgrade your ERP. Once you choose to upgrade, it can also be tough to undergo the process. That’s why you shouldn’t upgrade your software alone.
Datix, an Epicor Gold Partner, follows a proven methodology that simplifies upgrades. We’ve enabled companies with Epicor Enterprise, Vista, Vantage and Epicor 9 to make the move to Epicor 10. From start to finish, our certified consultants help each client migrate seamlessly from their legacy systems to modern solutions.
Considering an ERP upgrade? Get in touch with an expert at Datix today!