Is it time to upgrade your company’s ERP software? It’s a question every business owner faces at some point—and a major decision that can impact the entire company. However, several signs will help leaders decide whether it’s time to make the move to a new ERP system.

Is your ERP software getting old?

ERP systems automate key business processes across an organization, such as finance, HR, and supply chain management. As new technologies become available, industry standards evolve, and regulatory compliance requirements change, the demands on an organization’s ERP systems also change and grow. Companies need to access the latest technology to stay competitive while supporting and maintaining compatibility with the software and databases used by different departments. Older ERP systems can struggle to achieve this. 

Companies may also find that vendor support for the version of ERP software the organization has relied on for years is coming to an end. Contacting your current ERP vendor to see when support for your existing ERP software will end is a good first step for any business leader considering an ERP change.

Can you upgrade to a new version of your ERP software?

Upgrading to a new version of an existing ERP system is typically the most straightforward option available to companies. Your ERP vendor should have information about the latest version of their software available on their website and a guide to upgrading options. Your ERP implementation partner can also be an outstanding source of information about ERP upgrading options, and their insights and advice can help you make an informed decision. 

Does upgrading your ERP software offer significant benefits for your company?

The benefits of upgrading to a newer ERP system can be a powerful incentive for making the move. More modern ERP software may offer new features and functionalities that enable your companies to be more productive, capitalize on innovation, harness the power of AI and analytics, and more. Other benefits include:

  • Security enhancements: Upgraded ERP software may include new security features and more robust auditing capabilities that help your company ensure its compliance with industry best practices (e.g., PCI DSS) or internal policies.
  • Improved scalability: The latest version of your ERP software will be better able to support the increased data volumes and business demands placed on it as the company grows and expands its operations.
  • Increased stability: With bug fixes and fundamental improvements to the technology platform overall, upgraded ERP systems are faster and more reliable—ensuring the system’s there when your people need it.

Business leaders should consider how the new features and better performance of an upgraded ERP system will impact their business. Will it enable their people to do more than they could before? Will it be easier to use? Will it save the business time and money? Can these potential benefits be quantified?

Business leaders must avoid thinking about their ERP system solely in terms of its original or existing capabilities, a perspective that can be inadvertently perpetuated through training and habit. Take care that the limitations of the existing system don’t blind you to the possibilities of the newest version.

Is your current ERP system still compatible with today’s technologies?

Decision makers should also think about how well their existing ERP system works with newer technologies, from mobile devices to Internet of Things connected sensors and machines. That might not be much of a concern for some companies, who may not feel a driving need to upgrade to the newest version of their ERP software right away. For other companies, however, failing to upgrade could leave them unable to capitalize on new technological advances—and leave them at a serious a competitive disadvantage.

Do you understand the challenges that upgrading your ERP software will involve?

The decision to upgrade your company’s ERP software is a major decision. It can require significant investment of time and money. It may disrupt your business, introducing changes to existing business processes and requiring staff retraining or recruitment. The nature of these and other challenges will vary depending on the gap between the existing version and the upgrade, and the longer you wait to upgrade the larger the gap grows. The impact and learning curve involved in upgrading one or two software versions is one thing; upgrading five or six versions can be something else entirely.

Look before you leap when it comes to upgrading your ERP software

Business leaders need to explore their options carefully in deciding whether the time is right to upgrade their company’s ERP software. Consider the pros, cons, and costs of upgrading. Think about your company’s business needs and how the flexibility, functionality, and efficiency of a more modern ERP system would benefit the business long-term. Our team of Syntax SAP ERP specialists is here to help you understand your ERP upgrading options and what it would mean to your business. Call us today.