Whether you’ve been a loyal customer of your chosen ERP software – be that Epicor or otherwise – for years and feel it’s time to migrate to the latest version, or an upgrade is required to reflect and facilitate the growth of your business, there are many reasons and benefits to upgrade to the latest version. As you already run a version of the platform, instead of implementing from scratch, it may be tempting to view an upgrade project as a bit of a doddle. While slightly less functional and technical work is required, it is still important to approach your ERP upgrade with careful planning.
Here are 4 things to consider when upgrading your ERP software.
Is it just the software that needs an upgrade?
We have seen this before with a number of clients. They bemoan the current version of their ERP software, citing issues such as speed and general inability to meet the needs of the business. While this might be perfectly true, it is worth considering the bigger picture. What is it that you want to achieve? At the very beginning of the upgrade project, you should revisit your business processes and how they are mapped to your ERP utilisation. Through taking this approach, you can ensure that you are taking every opportunity to streamline and automate processes to make them as efficient as possible. We find that the upgrade stage is a useful time to do this, as you can carefully review your current utilisation and find areas for improvement. This is especially salient if you are upgrading due to business growth, as you will most likely find your needs and goals have changed considerably.
If you have been running the same version of your ERP software for a number of years, the probability that you have implemented and added some degree of customisation is pretty high. As these customisations will have been put in place to make the system most suitable to meet your business’ needs, you will want to make sure they are moved across, or at least reflected, to your upgraded system. Depending on the software – and the scope of the customisations – this could have different technical implications. Transitioning from say Epicor 9 to Epicor 10 is made easier by the Cirrus toolset, which highlights all areas of customisation and upgrades your database to the new release. We would definitely recommend engaging with a technical consultant should you have more complex customisations.
Is it time to move on?
This part of the decision making process is the reason the first point is so important. You may be convinced you need to upgrade to the latest version by your incumbent ERP vendor. This point is a good opportunity to ask yourself “is this software still meeting my needs”? Once you have determined what you want to achieve, it is almost certainly worth revisiting the market and scoping out other solutions and their ability to meet your needs. A complete change in platform can be drastic, but there are a few reasons you might want to do so. Firstly, it may put you in a stronger position to negotiate on price. You may have also outgrown the capabilities of your incumbent’s ecosystem and require another solution to achieve your goals.
Is it time for the cloud?
If you are currently running on-premise ERP, and are looking to upgrade, you might wish to consider migrating your system – or parts of it – to a cloud-based solution. We recently covered the reasons you might want to do this in a separate blog post. To provide a quick summary though, there are number of benefits involved with migrating to the cloud including cost saving, reduced risk of down time and data loss, easier scalability and quicker roll-out. The move into the cloud is not the right thing for every business – but it is worth discussing your options with an ERP consultant and considering if and how it could benefit your business.
A helping hand
As we alluded to at the start of the blog post, an ERP upgrade project should be treated just as significantly as a “fresh” implementation. You will undoubtedly need technical and functional support, as well as advice and consultancy around process and opportunities for improvement and streamlining. We are a knowledgeable team of ERP and business process consultants with 250 years combined experience in the industry. If you would like to discuss a potential upgrade project with us, get in touch.