How often should I upgrade my ERP? It’s a question all businesses who rely on and ERP system ask themselves. As our clients’ trusted ERP experts, this is one of the most common questions we hear. While it might sound like a good idea to hold on to the same ERP system for years, so long as it still working, that can be a dangerous strategy. A better tactic is to keep your ERP up to date with small, regular updates, so none of them are too painful, but you always have the latest version of the software, or at least keep yourself from falling too far behind. By being proactive with your ERP upgrades, you can save your business from a host of painful disasters. Here are five of them you can sidestep simply by knowing how often to upgrade ERP solutions.
Lack of support
The first of potential ERP disasters we’ll discuss is one that is much more likely to affect mature solutions, which have been on the market for years but have struggled to keep up with technology’s more recent evolutions. What often happens in these cases is the vendor moves on to a new solution and its predecessor is eventually put in the vault. Hanging onto an outdated ERP past this point spells disaster for business. When the vendor shelves your ERP, they leave you with no support, no updates. That means there will be nothing to protect you against security risks, bugs, unexpected user errors, and more. You’ll be spending half your IT’s budget on troubleshooting, throwing work hours and dollars down the drain.
Chaotic year-end close
Your accounting team is already working day and night when the time comes for your year-end close. What do you think would happen if your ERP no longer had the most recent tax tables? You might leave them with a burden that’s too heavy to carry. If you wait to upgrade your ERP for so long that the vendor is no longer publishing the most recent tax tables for your version, you not only are looking at a very complex and hectic year-end close, but your costs will also skyrocket, as the only way to get the tax tables you need without upgrading is to have an ERP consultant to develop a custom workaround for you.
This one isn’t just chaos—it’s catastrophic, especially in some industries. Compliance is “make or break” for companies in spaces such as Finance or Healthcare. As the world economy continues to grow and strengthen at exponential rates, regulations are developing constantly. If your business needs to follow federal or regional regulations, you want your ERP to be up to speed, without question. If you’re running an outdated version of your ERPs, you risk getting left behind as regulations change.
Does your business depend on being able to integrate your ERP with other business apps, like payroll or field service, just to name a few? By not paying attention to how often to upgrade ERP, you risk getting left behind by the vendors of these products, as well as your ERP vendor. Integration authors only guarantee their programs work with the latest one or two releases of any ERP. Once you get behind that, the integrations may not work as well as they once did, or eventually cease to function altogether. So, before you skip the next ERP upgrade, ask yourself, “can I afford to live without the other software that connects to my ERP?” If your answer is no, as it often is, this is another irrefutable reason to keep your ERP up to date.
No support for mobile or remote work
Remember 2020, the year when most workers became remote overnight? Many companies weren’t ready and struggled to keep up with the transition. A reliance on an outdated ERPs was one of the biggest reasons for this. Over the last few years, making their ERP systems ready to support work outside the office is one thing many ERP vendors have made a key focus, even for their on-premise solutions. But if you didn’t take advantage of the upgrades as your vendor made them available, you couldn’t take advantage without missing a beat., So, by keeping your ERP solution up to date with regular software upgrades, you are helping to future proof your business and make sure it’s ready for anything.
Now that you know how often to upgrade ERP and you’ve seen the disasters delaying your upgrades can cause, don’t let your business fall into one of these dangerous traps. If it’s been a while since you upgraded your Microsoft Dynamics or Acumatica software, and you need a little help to get things back on track, contact us. Our expert team is ready to help you take advantage of everything your software offers. Remember, when you keep your ERP up to date, your company will only benefit in the end.