As the dust begins to settle on the next great release from Epicor ERP, it’s time to consider whether to stick with what you have or upgrade to version 10.
Having worked at and led consulting for Epicor for 16 years, I’ve experienced many new product releases and I’m delighted to confirm that this is the best release ever. It represents the fruits of a new direction provided by APAX Partners and the new development methodology adopted by the reborn Epicor.
So from a product perspective there doesn’t seem to be a contra-indication against upgrading: performance is far better, there are fewer bugs than the current release of Epicor 9 (not including new bugs in a new product is a major departure from the previous norm!), the technology stack is much cleaner and the product is finally fully mobile.
If you’re on Epicor 9 running on the SQL database and have few modifications, there are clear reasons to upgrade and you should gain immediate positive outcomes. If you’re running on the Progress database, you need to convert to SQL which means you have to buy it and then convert the database to SQL. This isn’t a problem (we’ve done it many times), but it does take time (quite a lot depending on the size of your db) and it does require disc space (again, quite a lot).
If you have modifications, they will be in ABL code and again these need to be converted, but this is becoming a relatively easy thing to do as well, given our experience in helping customers through this stage.
Further upgrade considerations
One additional consideration applies to those using the Product Configurator, as this has been completely re-written in Epicor 10. The end result is far better, cleaner and more functional but if you depend heavily on the configurator, you’ll need to put aside the time to manually convert – a major task.
Customers on Vantage 8 can go through an upgrade process that takes you through Epicor 9 and then to Epicor 10 – a lengthier project and one in which you’ll need to take into account the costs of hardware, OS and other ancillary costs. If you haven’t moved from V8, you may still be running Windows XP on your clients and you’ll need to consider the client-side setup as well. Of course, you’ll have had that system for some years now and CBO would always recommend carrying out a business process optimisation review as part of any ERP implementation to ensure your processes remain appropriate to your ever-changing business.
If you’re on an earlier Epicor product such as Avante, iScala, Vantage 6 or Infoflo, you’re looking at a complete re-implementation (I can’t comment on the products introduced by the mergers/acquisitions of Activant or Solarsoft).
In these cases, if you’re still paying maintenance you’ll receive the like-for-like software modules without further payment – and after all those years you deserve it!
Users in this position should take a good look at the percentage of the total costs that make up the software upgrade – it may turn out to be a smaller proportion than you think. Server hardware, server OS, server database, client hardware, client OS and network infrastructure may all have to be updated. You’re also looking at consultancy costs that will be in excess of what you originally paid for the initial implementation.
ERP selection strategy
Version 10 of the Epicor ERP system is an excellent, robust product that will fit most businesses – often better than a lot of the competition. You just need to analyse the market carefully and see if anything else offers better value for your particular requirements and situation.
And if you need help with any of the above, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Each ERP consultant here at CBO has gone through the Epicor 10 certification and have experience of doing this for real to ensure true ERP optimisation based your business processes.
A final consideration concerns which third-party products you have in use. If you’re on V8 and using Corvu, do you get an upgrade to EPM or do you have to buy it? If you’re on Avante using Option, do you get APM as an upgrade? There is a lot of value-add new product out there and most people want it, but you could end up spending more than you thought when you first looked at your ‘free upgrade’…