Investing in and implementing enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is a significant milestone for any business, both from a time and monetary standpoint. Such is the work involved in deploying an ERP system that it isn’t something many businesses want to repeat in a hurry.
But like all business management software, ERP systems do have a finite lifecycle. Granted, such technology is built to last and incremental updates can extend functionality, but there will come a point when you’ve squeezed every bit of value from your system and it’s time to invest in a new one.
The question is – how can you tell when you need a new ERP system?
To help you determine the best time to pull the trigger on new ERP software, we’re taking a look at eight signs that your old system may be ready to retire.
1. Relying on Multiple Systems and Software
The beauty of ERP technology is that it unifies all applications into a single system, from which every business function can operate efficiently. Over time, however, changes to how teams and individuals work warrants the introduction of new platforms and software – meaning your ERP system is no longer the one-stop-shop it used to be.
If your team is reliant on programs beyond the scope of your ERP system, it could be time to upgrade. Modern ERP software is designed to work with all operational applications, even those which haven’t yet been released.
2. Time Wasted on Manual Processes
Since the conception of ERP software, one of its primary selling points has been automation. Removing or streamlining manual processes has proven to be a boon for businesses in all sectors, but it’s an attribute that relies on keeping ERP software fully up to date.
When ERP software starts to fall short of the mark in terms of automation, this jeopardises your business’ hard-won operational efficiency. If your teams are hampered by a partial return to manual processing, an ERP upgrade may be necessary to restore full automation and free up resources that are necessary for driving business growth and innovation.
3. Obvious Lack of Features
The speed at which new features continue to emerge within the ERP ecosystem is astonishing. Applications that were considered ‘must-haves’ a few years ago may be outdated by today’s standards, such is the pace of innovation within the industry.
Businesses typically invest in business management software such as ERP to give themselves an edge over competitors. But when your system starts to show signs of age, you may lack the necessary features to continue outperforming market rivals.
To maintain competitiveness, it pays to use the latest ERP software. Modern systems are equipped with the future-proof technologies your business needs to retain market share, whether that’s cloud connectivity or integrated mobile functionality.
4. Reduced Support
When legacy ERP software reaches the end of its lifespan, vendors tend to incrementally pare back the level of support available. For business users who rely on the technology day-to-day, this can be frustrating, but it’s a practice used almost universally within the ERP ecosystem as a means of encouraging the take up of new, future-ready software.
If you’re finding it increasingly difficult to pin down your ERP vendor and get the help you need, it may be time to read between the lines and upgrade. On-demand support is essential for getting the most out of your system, but some vendors will only offer such services to customers who continue to invest in upgrading their systems.
5. Security Issues
Like any other digital business solution, ERP software requires regular updates to ensure optimal performance, efficiency and security. Often, updates are required not to onboard new features, but to address weaknesses that jeopardise the safety and security of the system.
When ERP software reaches the end of its lifecycle, a lack of updates may leave it vulnerable to cyber threats. As such, security should be a priority driver for upgrading your system, ensuring that data, workflows and operational assets are adequately protected.
6. Overly Complex and Difficult to Onboard New Staff
Over time, your business may have added a range of applications and features to its original ERP platform, boosting its cross-departmental usability. As a result, things may be looking a little complicated, with only the most well-versed users able to decipher the inner workings of your system.
The problem with relying on an overly complex ERP infrastructure is that primary workflows and processes may have become muddled, resulting in operational inefficiencies. What’s more, it may hinder the onboarding process, with new starters finding it difficult to get to grips with the intricacies of your ERP framework. Time for a fresh start, perhaps?
7. Slow or Glitchy Performance
If your business is reliant on an ERP system that is coming to the end of its functional life, there’s every chance you may start to experience performance-related issues. Glitches, crashes or long wait times are among the problems which can arise from outdated ERP systems – particularly those hosted on ageing hardware.
Upgrading your ERP system may be expensive, but if performance is slowing your business down, it’s a price worth paying. Modern ERP software affords consistent performance right out of the box, while the emergence of cloud hosting means you no longer have to rely on outdated hardware to put your system to work.
8. Data Inconsistencies or Duplication
Without question, one of the greatest assets of ERP software is effective and streamlined data management. But what happens when you can no longer rely on your system to collate, categorise and present data in an accurate and timely way?
In the case of ageing ERP software, lots of problems can arise that impact accurate data capture. Performance, security and an increase in manual processing can all lead to issues like duplication, so it may be necessary to upgrade to safeguard effective data management in the long term.
We hope this guide proves useful in determining how long to stick it out with your old ERP before investing in a new one. For more guidance on the best time to update or upgrade your ERP infrastructure, take a look at the following resources from the JS3 Global blog:
- ERP Software Selection Guide: Which Solution is Right for Your Business?
- Upgrading ERP Software: How to Plan Your Strategy
- ERP Implementation: All You Need to Know for Project Success
If, after reading this guide, you think it’s high time to take the plunge and invest in a new ERP system, JS3 Global can help you choose the perfect, future-fit ERP solution to meet the needs of your business. For more information or to speak with one of our expert ERP specialists, visit the homepage or call 0161 503 0866.