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When Upgrading Your ERP is Worth the Pain

By Joseph Timmins

There’s never a perfect time to upgrade your ERP system. You either lack the time, people, or budget. And, despite vendor claims, often the upgrades aren’t worth disrupting the business. However, sometimes the disruption is more than worth it. Those times are rare, but they occur when market conditions and technology advancements are so compelling that you would be foolish to skip the upgrade opportunity. 

This post delves into the drivers that compel you to upgrade your ERP system and why market and technology shifts make 2018-2019 the right time to plan your ERP upgrade.

Driver #1: You aren’t meeting modern customer needs

Customers read what you read, know what you know, and are just as savvy regarding what modern ERP systems can do. Customers recognize that they – along with you, your partners, and suppliers – should all have role-based access to a unified data source that aligns all parties in the supply chain. What they expect (and can get from your competitors) is shared access to data around orders, inventory, lead times, shipping, delivery, and billing.

frustrated, paperwork, calculator, taxes, upset

Your customers may be willing to make a phone call to obtain this information – but they won’t tolerate the old-school process much longer. The only way it could persist is if you sell unique, one-of-a-kind products that no one else has – a rare and unsustainable business model.

It’s time to upgrade if your ERP system doesn’t provide multi-user, multi-company access with full supply chain visibility in line with customer service expectations.

Driver #2: You’re growing fast and working differently

It’s likely you originally purchased your ERP system to manage growth. Unfortunately, many older ERP systems don’t scale well and cost an arm and a leg when you try. In this robust economy, it’s time for you to support your growth and put advanced, modern ERP capabilities and information in the hands of your frontline managers and teams. By making them exceptional performers, you’ll solidify customer and partner relationships through all market conditions.

As you’ve grown, you’ve seen new employees working in many styles, including branch offices, home-based offices, and even entirely mobile workplaces. An ERP system that only manages an operational model focused on one or two central locations doesn’t scale to meet this new dynamic.

Driver #3: You’ve established a clear business case & strategy

All the technology in the world won’t matter if you haven’t established a real, ROI-based business case for upgrading your ERP. Do you know who will implement it? Can you envision how operations will change? Do you have a plan? If you can answer these questions, you have a clear justification for an ERP upgrade. One of the few exceptions is when regulations compel you to change. For example, many countries are becoming increasingly strict regarding where customer data can reside. As issues of data sovereignty affect more companies and your customers, you may have to upgrade your ERP or lose their business – they won’t be willing to lose revenue due to your unwillingness to modernize.

Critical Things ERP System Webinar

Driver #4: Are you a company owner? A recognized ERP package is an asset

If you’re an owner, you’ll eventually need an exit strategy. Selling a company with a second-rate ERP system is like selling a house with a leaky basement. But if you implemented a package like SAP Business One, the person who does valuations and the person you sell to will take that into account. Having SAP B1 will show you’re serious about information-gathering and not afraid to invest in the best mid-tier ERP package in the industry. Plus, it will be the source of reliable numbers and something the new owners will continue to use. That’s one reason 65,000 other companies across the globe run SAP B1, and when you think about equity, ERP should be part of the calculation.    

Experts in modernizing your ERP

There are many ways to modernize your ERP system. One or more may be possible for your organization. To narrow down your options and find the ideal path forward, contact Acuity today.

Topics: ERP

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