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When is it time for new ERP software?

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In tough economic times, it becomes tempting to sweat your assets. But running an outdated ERP system may become more of a liability than a saving in the long run.
Viesturs Zalaiskalns, channel manager at HansaWorld South Africa, highlights the top signs that indicate it’s time for new ERP software:

Functionality gaps
If the software you’ve been using for years starts becoming outdated, you will start noticing functionality gaps, particularly when your business ventures into a new industry or embarks on new business models.
Many businesses may try to address these gaps by adding external components to the system, or moving functionality outside the ERP system altogether. In the long term, independent and/or patched systems will need to interface and integrate to deliver optimal value, and ensuring that they do so can prove complex and costly.
Investing in an advanced new ERP system ensures that all the functionality required by the business today is delivered in an integrated solution capable of meeting the business’s changing strategic needs over the next few years.

Updates and upgrades
It is important to consider how well your ERP vendor keeps you up to speed with advances. If you have had a system in place for years and little or nothing new has been added to the product, you need to be concerned.
Technology and market trends constantly change, a fact that mobile app developers are well aware of. For that reason, you’ll find consumer apps being updated every four to six weeks, with a new version released every few months. This approach is impacting development in the enterprise space as well, where businesses are beginning to expect their solutions to keep up with changing technology developments.
Admittedly, ERP is significantly more complicated than a mobile app, but updates and upgrades should be released at regular intervals, to ensure that the solution keeps delivering in a changing environment.

BI and graphics
Older ERP systems typically do not offer many built-in BI tools, allowing enterprises to analyse their data. ERP systems have been notorious in the past for their lack of visual appeal, with much of the available data displayed as text. However, in an app economy, users expect more from solutions.
Today’s business decision makers are exposed to mobile apps that are attractive and intuitive, and want to enjoy the same experience when using their enterprise systems. They want instant access and the power to analyse their data using attractive, user-friendly interfaces.
If your ERP software does not deliver, it is time to upgrade.

Cloud readiness
Worldwide, cloud is the future of enterprise systems; therefore enterprises should start preparing for the cloud now. ERP systems that are not cloud ready or already in the cloud, will not stand the test of time as businesses increasingly discover the benefits of cloud-based enterprise systems.
When considering a move from an outdated ERP system to one capable of meeting current and future enterprise needs, organisations typically raise cost, fears of implementation complexity and resistance to change as their main concerns.
Until recently, these concerns may have been valid: as little as two years ago a seven-user ERP system may have required a significant investment and taken months to implement.
However, times have changed. The same functionality in an on premise solution is now available on a subscription model with little upfront investment and implementation possible in as little as four weeks, often to the great surprise of customers.