Decisions When Upgrading ERP
With the recent release of Epicor ERP 10.1, we have been discussing upgrades with many of our clients. The reason Manufacturers release newer versions of their software is that technology is evolving at such a quick pace, that this is a necessity to keep up with this evolution. Which means, that every version of software you choose not to ugprade, is more functionality your business is missing out on. The main reason organizations don’t upgrade is the hassle they perceive comes along with doing so. But because of this fear, organizations are running applications that are out of support (or close to it), may no longer support your business needs, or have had so many modifications to it that you can’t even recognize your original software. When you get to this point in your organization, you need to upgrade or accept your technology is going to start causing you more harm than good. So you are going to upgrade, you now have 2 choices to make.
Gartner just released a study that estimates about 30% of organizations plan to move their ERP systems to the cloud. Part of the hype surrounding cloud based systems is it is less expensive than a traditional system. The cloud promises a single version of the software, no infrastructure requirements, and continuous improvements. We have written several blogs on Cloud and Software-as-a-service technologies, and recognize it is a huge trend in the technology space right now.
However, your organization may not be prepared to absorb the technology and process changes that switching to new software entails. But with this being said, we also recognize there are times when upgrading your traditional ERP system makes sense. There have been corporate leaders that have found that their existing enterprise system actually meets their business needs. They’ve likely poured tens of thousands or even millions of dollars into the application and cannot justify starting from scratch with a new system. So if you have made the decision to upgrade your current ERP system, you now have a couple choices.
You can choose to do a technical upgrade. This means that you upgrade the hardware and software in silos without changing any business process changes or customizations. This gives you the ability to upgrade your legacy applications without losing the level of support you contracted for. For those companies that want to take advantage of the new functionality available in the new version or that need to add on new modules, they will choose a full upgrade. A full upgrade is more timely and expensive then a technical upgrade. To minimize the upgrade time and disruption to critical business processes, organizations are now adopting an end-to-end approach to improve upgrade performance. This means treating every piece of technology as an individual components in terms of optimization and upgrading. To do this you must follow these steps:
- You must decide what technology, tools, and applications need to be upgraded in order for the ERP system upgrade to happen
- Upgrade database software first so the transfer of data can happen
- Data must be converted and all historical data stored prior to the cut over
- Streamline the upgrade process by optimizing the order of processes and maximizing the process load without overwhelming the servers
By following these steps and speaking to your IT Consultant about following these steps, you can help minimize the headaches your organization could experience with an upgrade. Incorporating these steps may allow you faster processing times, business benefits that begin accruing even before the switch over, and reduced upgrade-related risks. If your ERP software is more than 3-5 years old, you are due for an upgrade. Don’t let the idea of an upgrade scare you off from doing the right thing for your organization. 2W Tech is a certified Epicor ERP partner and can help you upgrade to Epicor 9, Epicor 10, or Epicor 10.1. We are also a full service IT Consultant and VAR and can help you with other upgrades your organizations may be in need of.