Over the years, I have seen many organizations struggle with the idea of purchasing new business software. Confusion sets in as organizations debate internally as to whether they should upgrade a legacy system, buy a new ERP system, or let the islands of information rule their business for a few more years. Many times, the reluctance to make a change is likely due to a number of factors- such as affordability, budget, resources, other projects or higher priorities. Though, one thing is for certain, when a company chooses to wait- they are likely postponing the inevitable.
Warning Signs that it is time to make a change…
- Accounting takes too long and is complicated. Often, the first noticeable signs that your company needs a change in software will come from your accounting department. If your accounting team relies on Excel Spreadsheets, paper-based invoices, sales orders and purchase orders—or spend hours every week manually entering the same information into multiple systems—you need to consider how much time is being wasted on tasks that an ERP software can streamline. The same goes for financial reporting.
- Your current software vendor no longer supports your product. This is a very common occurrence; I see it all the time. Software systems are constantly evolving, and new versions are coming out regularly. The software vendors cannot offer maintenance and support for all of the ‘dinosaurs’ in their line of products, so they move their product forward, and discontinue support on older versions.
- Your current software vendor is going out of business. If you’ve had your ERP system for many years, you may have some risk that your software vendor could go out of business, be acquired and the possibility exists that your system will no longer be supported. If that is already the case for your company, it is certainly time to change.
- Your software system will not support your company’s growth plan. Many of the older systems do not have the functionality or scalability that exist in today’s modern ERP systems. Your company may be growing naturally or by acquisition, creating a need for a system that supports the changes to your business. These requirements could include but are not limited to; multi-language, multi-site, multi-entity, centralized business functions, bar coded transactions, CRM or mobility.
- Your staff is working outside your primary software system. Watch out for this phenomenon, and don’t be surprised if you find you are already there. If your staff is performing tasks outside the primary system, such as double-data entry, cut and paste reports, or walking between plants or warehouses to record or deliver shop floor information, and you have islands of information, these are all signs that you need to make a change. These manual and redundant workarounds due to system limitations result in major inefficiencies, which are time-consuming and costing your company money.
- You have only a couple people who know your current system. In many companies, older legacy systems have been running operations for over 20 years. Whether it’s custom code, or just an old software package, there might be only one or two people in the company who know the inner-workings of the system. They become quite valuable to the organization, and therein lies the greatest risk. What if the knowledge-holder decides to leave? Think about this…what if tomorrow there was nobody to support your old, out-of-date information systems?
If you are experiencing any of the above signs, and conclude YES, it’s time to make a change- make sure you do your research. There are many systems to choose from, and you want to find the best package that will help your organization to reach its business goals and allow your company to grow.