Inertia is a powerful force. It’s easier to keep doing what you’ve always done than it is to make an improvement. Change can be time consuming, scary, or require significant investment. When it comes to ERP solutions, though, the cost of doing nothing may be higher than you realise.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the ways that an old ERP system might be limiting your potential, or even putting your business at risk.
It can be hard to attract and retain the right talent, especially if you need everyone to be in the office. Enabling your people to work from home helps them to maintain a good balance between work and family responsibilities and gives them a chance to optimize their work environment too. Remote working is also important for those who travel on business or work from customer sites. If your ERP solution does not provide remote access using the cloud, it’s time to upgrade.
We’re so dependent on our mobile devices now, it’s hard to remember a time before them. Yet, mobile computing is a relatively recent trend. Android came out ten years ago; the first iPhone was in 2007 and the iPad’s launch in 2010 invented the consumer tablet market. If you’re using an old ERP system, it may not have been designed to take advantage of mobile devices.
That really matters: if you can’t access or update information on the move, your team may be forced to use paper workarounds. It’s time consuming and error prone. There might be discrepancies in your data because someone hasn’t had time to do the updates or rekey the paperwork yet, or worse still because they can’t read someone’s wiggly handwriting. If your team don’t have current information, it could affect your sales processes, because they don’t know something is in stock, or because two people sell the exact same item. You could carry extra inventory to cope, but it’s tying up your capital.
Modern ERP solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central enable you to work wherever you are, using a wide range of devices. It enhances productivity and helps you to ensure your team are always up to date.
You need support
Old solutions may no longer be supported by the software vendor, and so won’t be updated for compatibility with new devices and other applications. Your ERP solution might have been running successfully for some time, but software is hugely complex and new bugs are often discovered late in an application’s lifetime. If the software is unsupported, these bugs won’t be squashed, which could put your data or uptime at risk.
What happens if something goes wrong with your ERP solution? You need to know that you can get it fixed, and fast. That’s unlikely to be the case if you’re working with a legacy solution. You might struggle to find IT consultants with the expertise in outdated software, and the willingness to work on it. When you do find someone, it might prove time consuming and expensive for them to find the problem and fix it.
By migrating to a modern ERP solution, you can ensure you’re benefiting from software that is currently supported, continuously updated, and easier to maintain. You not only reduce your risk of downtime (with the huge opportunity costs that entails), but may also be able to cut the cost of a support contract or any ad-hoc maintenance.
You’re under attack
IT systems are constantly under attack today, so it’s important your ERP solution is resilient. Hackers often try to exploit any bugs that become public knowledge to see if they can use them to infiltrate the system. An older ERP solution that is no longer receiving bug fixes and security patches is particularly vulnerable, so it’s important to have a current solution that still benefits from updates.
Changing business processes
Your company doesn’t operate in a vacuum: there are changes in the market and in regulatory requirements. These all need to be reflected in your business processes. We’ve recently seen the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and HMRC is now rolling out Making Tax Digital, an initiative that will require businesses to file financial returns electronically.
If you’re relying on an outdated ERP solution, you might not be meeting all the regulatory requirements that apply to your business. Compliance might involve using multiple applications and manual workarounds. It’s a productivity killer, and puts stress on your team.
Benefit from the latest trends
By using a legacy ERP solution, you’re not benefiting from the latest innovations and productivity improvements. Researchers are working out how to make software easier to use all the time, and customer feedback is often incorporated into later software releases. People use software at home and have expectations about how it will work. Older ERP solutions might be harder for them to navigate, and require more deliberate thinking to switch context from the applications they routinely use to the unfamiliar ERP environment.
The best software enables your people to work seamlessly and intuitively so they can focus on adding value to your business, not spend time puzzling over an interface. With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, your team can use smooth integrations with the Office applications they know, and a familiar Microsoft Office look and feel throughout.