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Upgrade your ERP system

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Ever wondered when is a good time to change your ERP system? One Channel, a cloud ERP solutions provider and Acumatica partner for Africa, says now is the perfect time to change to Cloud ERP.

One Channel CEO Bernard Ford references a Forrester Research document that shows that half of all ERP customers were using old software releases; some as many as four years old or more. “The reason? Most small business leaders will say they don’t have the time, personnel, or budget to take on an update to the ERP system – there’s never a perfect time to implement.”

Updating ERP software can look like an intimidating and expensive project, though the gains from increased efficiency and improved operations are a good long-term investment. But long-term investment is still not a great argument for making a leap to a new system.

“There’s a reason people stick with legacy software: Changing your core software affects the whole organisation. In order to accept that the time, training, and disruption of an organisation is going to be worth it, there are better reasons for making the leap to Cloud ERP Software,” he explains.

He says chances are good that there are more efficient ways to accomplish many of one’s business tasks. “Technology moves fast, and the loss of efficient processes is a hidden cost, especially for non-cloud software.”

An outdated ERP system also increasingly redirects resources into maintenance instead of allowing one to focus that money and energy on solving real problems.

Ford says business needs are outgrowing ERP capability. “You know why you bought your first ERP system – to help manage a growing company. But if incrementally increasing maintenance fees and limited-user license fees are adding up as the team’s headcount grows, you may be dealing with an ERP system that doesn’t scale well.”

“ERP should support and streamline your team’s growth, not hinder it or generate more work. The philosophy of “Include everyone, on any device, anywhere” is what sets a true Cloud ERP apart from a legacy system,” he stresses.

Customer needs aren’t being met. Customers, suppliers, and partners expect direct access to billing, shipping, and inventory data. They don’t want to call someone to get this information and companies don’t want to generate unnecessary customer service calls. Older systems weren’t designed for multiple user access and tend to be less customer-service oriented.

Ford says a cloud ERP solution can provide instant, anywhere access with real-time information. “If you’re not providing that business value, your competitors might have an edge on you.”

In addition, today’s small business leaders are often working with employees or whole branches in remote locations, due to telecommuting or hiring offsite contractors. Operating with a business model that depends on a centralised office is simply not practicable anymore.

Employees are mobile and information also needs to be. Leveraging the potential of this decentralised world, more and more of the workforce is doing work from mobile devices on the road, using tablets, laptops, and phones.

He says a cloud ERP solution turns this mobility into a clear business advantage by providing a seamless transition experience from the office, to home, to mobile, and back. “The cloud empowers scalability as you add employees – anywhere in the world.”

“If you have to dig for up-to-date information, it slows critical decision-making and impairs problem-solving capacity,” he adds.

With the Business Intelligence capabilities available in today’s data-driven business environment (Microsoft’s Power BI, Google Analytics, OData, and so much more), it’s going to be critical to add the value of interpretation and curation to that information.

“You need to know what parts of your business are working and what aren’t—and you need to know fast. Furthermore, your ERP isn’t keeping up with changing regulations. Tax rules and other industry compliance regulations change all the time. For many businesses, compliance demands are constantly shifting,” he explains.

The Cloud enables ERP to keep pace with changing compliance information. Legacy ERP solutions simply weren’t built for agile business pivots; what would happen if a company hit a sudden demand or opportunity to expand? Would one’s ERP system scale to meet change?

“Admittedly, I’m a little biased, but if you’re a medium sized business leader looking for a way to really make an impact in your overhead, scalability, and growth potential, this is a great time to research Cloud ERP Software and consider the leap,” says Ford.

“With the time and efficiency gains you’ll almost immediately see, as well as freeing your IT team from the time and cost of maintaining legacy ERP software, you’ll be able to sharpen your focus and shift your budget to mission-critical growth goals,” he concludes.