When Should You Upgrade Your ERP?

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Enterprises across industries have seen the value of a no-holds-barred, hardworking ERP system that makes sense for their business goals. And with the costs of ERP coming down to make it attainable to even small businesses, you’ll likely to find very few die-hard old-schoolers that do things manually anymore. With disruption being the sentiment of the hour and explosive growth an expectation in so many cases, it’s no wonder organizations are spending thousands of dollars to keep their ERP systems current. But is an upgrade always necessary?

The word ‘upgrade’ can be fraught with tension. Implementation nightmares and vision of long drawn out settling in phases notwithstanding, a significant benefit of an upgrade is that vendors spend time and money on R&D with the goal of fixing bugs and making things the best versions of themselves. While many people choose the status quo, because the alternative is expensive and not necessarily compelling from an ROI perspective, many others have been bitten by the unnecessary upgrade bug. In our opinion, there is a relatively limited list circumstances under which an upgrade is non-negotiable. Here are five reasons to embrace the upgrade:

1. Your business has outgrown your current enterprise system.
If you’ve grown explosively in recent years, and your people are talking more about system limitations that benefits, maybe the time has come to upgrade. If your system no longer fits you – because of an acquisition, change of direction or alternative organizational change, often a system fix is a good place to start. Your efforts are best begun with a clear review of your business plans and processes and a tech upgrade that will help you get the most out of your plans.

2. You have fractured systems that won’t integrate with each other.
If you’re using more than one system and they are not speaking to each other, an upgrade might be in order. In an ideal world, you’ll have one system but if not, you’ll want to look for applications that seamlessly integrate to ensure that you are not resorting to double efforts or manual steps, which will lead to a multitude of problems all the way from inefficiencies to unhappy customers to surly staff.

3. Your system is no longer supported.
If your vendor has phased out your product and is offering very little support or has entirely discontinued it, an upgrade or a do-over might be your only option. An obsolete software solution is no use to anyone and can be more harmful in that your security might be compromised when patches are not being upgraded. Prohibitive costs of one-off support added to that might just mean that looking into new and improved options is the way forward.

4. Your system does not give you options that are now an industry standard.
Once you’re comfortable with your ERP, often an ‘old shoe’ situation can develop. Old shoes while familiar are often worn thin and unhygienic! Think about that in system terms. You want to keep abreast of the things that are available in the world of ERP. If there are features that could be making your life easier, and they come as a standard part of most offerings, there’s probably a reason. If your software doesn’t offer it, you’re doing yourself a disservice and might want to look into ways to get those features to work for you.

5. You had an upgrade in the plans
If your upgrade was in your plans, a clearly laid out project with goals for the next phase of your growth, organizational change management initiatives in place and everything, good for you! You’re in the best possible scenario for an upgrade.

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