Here at Kerridge Commercial Systems, we often encounter businesses looking for a new ERP system. Nothing unusual about that, you might think. But what is startling is the number of those businesses whose current ERP software is unsupported.
That’s right: several versions behind the current one offered by the respective vendor of their ERP software, the plug has been pulled on support.
Here at Kerridge Commercial Systems, we think that such behaviour holds a gun to customers’ heads: keep up with your ERP software upgrades—or you’ll find yourselves unsupported.
At Kerridge Commercial Systems, we never force customers to upgrade, and we will support old versions of our ERP software for as long as customers want them.
ERP software isn’t fine wine
That said, I don’t think that staying on older versions of ERP software is particularly good practice.
While it might be comfortable and familiar, to keep using ERP software that’s no longer state of the art will eventually harm a business’s competitive edge.
Granted, ERP upgrades carry a cost, which is why businesses might delay upgrading. But eventually, they’ll find themselves further and further behind the current version.
When the temptation to skip an upgrade first arises, it’s often because the business arguments in favour of an upgrade haven’t been made strongly enough. Upgrades aren’t purely an IT issue: they are a strategic decision, which really ought to be made by the broader business.
And what are those strategic, business arguments? Read on for 3 reasons to upgrade your ERP:
#1 ERP software: new features and functionality
The most obvious reason for upgrading your ERP software is to gain access to new features and functionality.
Think about e-commerce, for instance, or support for mobile devices, or in-built analytics and dashboards, or enhancements to take better advantage of EDI, RFID or the Internet of Things.
In each case, businesses wanting to exploit these advances have a choice to make. Do without, procure them from a third-party, or acquire them via the new features and functionality incorporated into a new release of their ERP software.
At Kerridge Commercial Systems, most of the new features and functionality that we add to our K8 Manufacturing and K8 Field Service ERP software systems come either from customer requests, or from our expert industry specialists, who follow industry and technology trends.
Either way, the new additions are likely to be of interest. And staying on an old version means missing out on them.
#2 ERP software: enhanced productivity
A new version of an ERP software system isn’t just about new features and functionality.
It’s also about enhancements to workflow, new business processes, improvements to user interaction, and tweaks to layout and design. And in many cases, these again stem from customer suggestions.
So ERP upgrades generally offer higher productivity: a way of getting more accomplished, in less time.
The differences can be subtle, but think about common desktop productivity applications such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. We may find new versions slightly awkward at first—but few of us would go back to an older version.
#3 ERP software: it’s what your business runs on
Finally, it’s time to take a slightly more strategic look at upgrading.
Simply put, ERP software lies at the very heart of a typical manufacturing or field service business. Without that ERP software, things would grind to a halt. ERP is simply the way that business is carried out.
Yes, upgrading to the latest version offers operational benefits—the sorts of things I’ve mentioned above.
But upgrading to the latest version also makes a statement about your business: it hasn’t stood still over the past five or ten years—and neither should the ERP software that you run it on.
A while ago I wrote about the importance of ERP health checks. There are many reasons why an ERP system might not be delivering ROI. Find out how a healthcheck can help: Is it time for an ERP healthcheck?