ERP vendors spend millions of dollars annually on R&D. You are probably paying thousands of dollars annually for ERP system maintenance. Are you wasting those maintenance dollars? If you are not taking advantage of the latest systems releases and newest features/functions you just might want to see what you are missing.
Aberdeen Group studies, conducted over many years, under the title of “ERP in Manufacturing” identified what constituted “Best Practices” in ERP deployment. One key area evaluated was the ERP upgrade frequency.In the Aberdeen study - not exercising the opportunity to upgrade was considered wasted maintenance dollars. Maintaining a current ERP system positions your business for the future while leveraging every improving functionality.
Latest and Greatest
Start by understanding ERP version improvements, enhancements and additional capabilities offered by an upgrade. Then decide if this "new" version is an opportunity to satisfy unmet business needs including building a plan to position your business for the future. The potential offered by an upgrade can help you achieve results that are quantifiable. Those include:
- Business Need – Are your business requirements being met? Newer versions of your system satisfy more needs via new capabilities and functionality not available in your current ERP system.
- Proactive vs Reactive – Will your current system support your future? Planning for the future and upgrading in anticipation of change/growth/acquisitions/business needs. An updated system may prove critical to supporting change!
- Old Systems – The older the system and the further behind your system release level - the more difficult and time consuming an upgrade can be. Older systems tend to be customized and difficult to maintain - while those needed functions may be standard in newer releases of a more functionally rich system.
- Out of Date = Out of Touch - Newer systems capabilities provide for a more effective system and better return to the business. Upgrades will offer: added features, improved processes, integration and technological extensions.
- ROI – are you leveraging your maintenance dollars? An upgrade is an opportunity to benefit from the dollars your pay for systems enhancements and improvements. Periodically assess “new” functional capabilities to support your business and develop a business case in anticipation of the future.
Further Considerations - Before You Place the Order
Just as there are important reasons to upgrade your system, there are also reasons not to upgrade. First, you should always have a business case to support your decision to upgrade. Second, understand there are also reasons to NOT to upgrade, including:
- Technology – if the decision is based on being on the “newest” technology alone without a business case supporting the need, you should probably reconsider
- Currency of Systems – if you are relatively current but using less than 10% of the systems functionality you would be better severed to revisit the functional capabilities realized compared to those that are still to be implemented and deployed
Time for an ERP Upgrade
An ERP upgrade can satisfy a range of needs, from: eliminating redundancy of databases and system modifications, to supporting mobile technologies and workforce collaboration. This may also be a good time to consider Cloud ERP deployment - allowing for potential costs savings and reallocation of IT resources to support your business.
Staying aware of new ERP releases and enhancements allows for better decisions. Periodically review systems release information and the benefits to be realized from a newer ERP system. Some potential benefits include:
- Elimination of manual processes through automation of:
- Deployment of collaboration tools and information that is shared across processes and functions
- Integration of Suppliers into the process with systems, interfaces, information sharing and collaboration
- Support for your workforce with information available via mobile devices allowing access and decisions to be made anywhere and anytime
The best approach to determining benefits to be realized from an ERP system is to perform a business assessment. Start by looking at the business and functional needs then map them to the capabilities afforded by your current ERP or an upgraded version.
Don’t waste those maintenance dollars! Put your investment in your ERP system to work for you.
B-WI Enterprise Consulting Solutions
Let’s have a conversation. We’d be glad to discuss your future initiatives and share our experiences oriented to your upgrade plans. We have an organization built and deployed to support your needs. Whether strategic or tactical we work with our clients to define, design and deploy the “best” solutions.
Now, more than ever, the keys to success are based on: people, process and technology. That is and always has been what we provide - the best solution to meet your goals.
If you would like to talk, please reach out to me or our team of consultants here at Barry-Wehmiller International. Contact me at Pat.McGrath@B-WI.com . Wishing you success in all of your endeavors! ;-)
About B-WI: At Barry-Wehmiller International (B-WI) we are proud of our remarkable journey, a journey we began 20 years ago to become who we are today – a trusted, global, people-centric, ‘Total Solutions’ provider with a rich heritage in manufacturing. We take particular pride in our people-centric culture and values.
We have built a strong foundation, we are here to lend a hand and be a guide to our customers with our specialized consulting, technology, engineering and manufacturing talent. We were there then, we are here now and we will be there with you into the future. Welcome to Barry-Wehmiller International.About the Author: Patricia McGrath is pleased to represent Barry-Wehmiller International, as Director of
Strategic Initiatives. B-WI provides consulting and services for manufacturing, engineering, ERP solutions, and specialized development and support services. Pat’s career includes positions with such prestigious companies as IBM and KPMG. While there she focused on strategy, ERP business partners and business consulting, plus having her own company working with others to develop both strategic initiatives and tacrical plans.