by Ryan Warnock

5 signs it’s time to upgrade your ERP system

Feb 09, 2018
Enterprise ApplicationsERP SystemsTechnology Industry

Debating whether you should upgrade your ERP system? Here's a list of the key signs that your business is being held back by its current version.

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Businesses often spend considerable time internally debating whether or not they should update their ERP system to the latest version, with many unsure just how they can tell whether the time is right or not to sanction an upgrade.

While some businesses may be sceptical of the upheaval that is associated with upgrading, often the disruption and cost are dwarfed by the benefits to profits and efficiencies that come with being on the latest update of an ERP system.

To help you better gauge whether the time is right for your business to upgrade their ERP system or not then, we have compiled a list of the key signs that your business is being held back by their current ERP system version.

1. No mobile functionality

With business in general becoming increasingly remote and about working on the move, your ERP system should complement this change in culture by allowing you to access certain features of the system on your mobile phone, regardless of your location.

While for the time being at least, mobile apps are not going to offer the same level of insight and features that you would get from your desktop, applications such as Unit4’s Travel and Expenses, which allows you to capture and enter expenses on the go, is an example of how mobile technology can make a huge difference to ERP system efficiencies.

By allowing you to work on the go, Unit4’s Travel and Expenses mobile app prevents the traditional backlog of expense claims, with it allowing you to make use of you time travelling to keep-up-to-date, preventing a mundane and time-consuming month-end task.

2. Lack of standard features

As time progresses, features that may have been considered not essential, or a luxury when you first implemented your current version, are likely to now be fairly standard practice within your industry and/or a modern ERP system.

Regardless of whether it is a system feature, such as integrated analytics/intelligence, or a functionality that is specific to your industry, not being able to utilise recent technology puts your business at risk of being left behind, especially if your competitors have access to the functionality.

Ideally, your businesses should be looking to make the most of not only standard features, but emerging, cutting-edge technology to ensure you possess a competitive advantage.

3. No vendor support

As with any software provider, there is only so long they will commit to supporting and updating an outdated version of their software, with them justifiability keen to spend their time developing and supporting the most recent version, and in most instances, the preceding version.

If you find yourself on an unsupported and outdated version of your ERP system, you may be tempted to stay on it until it eventually becomes inadequate.

While this may save money in the very short-term, leaving it too long to upgrade your ERP system means you will have to jump several versions in one upgrade, leaving your business having to tackle a substantial upgrade project. Your users are also likely to be faced with a whole host of new features and a different interface, leading to a more time-consuming and costly transition.

4. Poor integration

Ensuring your business systems seamlessly work together is one of the key factors behind how efficient businesses are able to be when it comes to their system processes.

Relying on an ERP system that is not integration-friendly and prevents you from automatically transferring your data to another system, whether it be a CRM or another, can lead to a serious decrease in efficiencies and an increase in manual work.

Modern ERP versions tend to be more open to integration, naturally making it easy for developers to ensure your business systems are working in partnership.

5. It’s not compliant

As touched upon earlier, as software developers release new updates, they naturally stop actively supporting older versions, meaning if new regulation comes in, those on older versions run the risk of not being compliant.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an EU law designed to strengthen an individual’s rights regarding their personal data, is a key example of how new regulation can lead to the need for the development of ERP software.

While ERP vendors will be developing their software to ensure it helps their users be compliant, they are likely to only release the patch to recent updates, leaving those on older versions possibly uncompliant, and having to spend considerable sums trying to ensure they are.

With the cost of incompliance not an option (those who don’t comply with GDPR can find a fine up to £20 million or 4% of their annual global turnover, whichever is greater) businesses can often spend substantial sums ensuring they are compliant, a process that could have been aided greatly had they kept their ERP system up-to-date.