A common problem we come across is companies who are using a decades old ERP system that is becoming end of life. Faced with the prospect of replacing a legacy ERP system, many worry about the disruption and cost that they will have to endure. This leads to burying their head in the sand and sticking with a system that is unsupported and might not be right for their business.
The Problem with Staying on the Current System
While many companies will make a legacy ERP system work, they face a range of issues that can interfere with their ability to operate optimally.
First, the age of the system leads to increased chance of performance issues. This may be from years of customisations that slow the system down or due to the system being designed to work with older hardware and peripherals. Not only does this slow down the people using the system, but it adds frustration to their job and encourages workarounds that are not documented.
Second, integration with other systems can be difficult to achieve due to the age of the ERP. Standard practices have changed over the years which can result in an isolated ERP system requiring manual workarounds to use properly.
Third, if your system is end of life then it becomes much more difficult to find proper support for the system. This could be technical support for configuration or software support for adding more customisations. You will also face having an unsecure system with no software updates or bug fixes.
All these reasons add up to wasted time and a lack of efficiency that slows your business’s ability to grow. That is why it is worth considering if you should be replacing your legacy ERP system.
The Benefits of Replacing a Legacy ERP System
If you find yourself facing the problems above or feel like you are wasting lots of time each week with an old system, then it is time to look at replacing it. There are great benefits that come with a new system including:
- Better integration with other business systems
- Fewer manual processes and work arounds
- Improved reporting and data analysis to make informed decisions
- A system that fits your ideal business processes and ways of working
While each of these benefits are great on their own, the full package results in companies being able to cut costs and focus on growing with a system that supports their modern needs.
What to Consider When Replacing a Legacy ERP System
Deciding that it is time for a new system is just the first step in what can be a difficult journey. To make sure things go as smoothly as possible you want to consider the following items:
A major factor in the success of any ERP project is doing work upfront to understand your business. This means looking at your “As Is”, which is how you operate now, and laying out your “To Be” future, the end state of optimisation you want to achieve. This ensures no area is missed out in how your business operates and gives you and your team a clear end goal to work towards.
Doing this work also allows you to create well defined requirements for any new systems so you can objectively evaluate vendors. This is vital for selecting a system that can do what you need and understand any gaps that may exist in the solution. Too often companies will just pick an ERP system and find that it is either missing functionality they need or requires a large change in processes. Both are costly issues that leads to a lack of use for the system, resulting in little ROI.
Replacing a legacy ERP system is a large project that can involve every department in a business. Therefore, keeping things moving and controlling resource usage is key to the success of the project. Too often a project grows arms and legs with teams struggling to come together and deliver on the vision from the Blueprint.
A good project manager helps to combat this by keeping things in check and moving. They can facilitate workstreams and help keep the vendor on track. By adding accountability to the project there is a much higher chance of success. Just make sure the project manager is someone who has the time to dedicate to the project rather than having to balance it alongside their usual day job, as this approach regularly ends in failure.
Before embarking on a project, you will want to make sure you have the right skillsets on your team. As mentioned above you will want a project manager, but you also must consider technical and people skillsets. Consider things like data cleansing, data migration, communication, training, and key users. Each has an important part to play in a successful project.
Before selecting a system make sure you understand what that vendor will and won’t do on the project as that can have a massive impact on what skills you need. And while having the skills in-house is great, it can make sense to work with an external partner to fill resource and skill gaps that exist.
The last thing to consider is what valuable contacts there might be within your network. These people may have recently gone through upgrading their own ERP or work in the same industry and con provide insight into what systems they use. This can help to give you an idea of what is out there as well as gain some tips of what does and does not work well.
Replacing a legacy ERP system can seem like a daunting task to start with. But by taking a methodical approach and spending time upfront on a Blueprint, you can go a long way in ensuring the success of your project.
If you would like to find out how our team can help you successfully move from an old system, then get in touch with us today.