Companies stick with their legacy computer system for a number of reasons. But out-of-date software can be detrimental to your business and could be holding you back.
So, when should you look at changing your legacy system? For an ERP system that manages your whole business operation, the earlier you change it, the better.
Reasons to Change Your Legacy System
It isn’t always obvious that you should change your ERP system. But there are some situations where it is very apparent that a change will soon be needed.
The most clear-cut reason is that your software will no longer be supported. When a provider stops supporting a product, it can mean a slow decline in performance as fixes and patches are no longer implemented. Your software may not integrate with new software you buy or become buggy or unresponsive.
If your software is based on older technology, then it may no longer do what you need it to. It could run more slowly than contemporary systems, due to running on servers with older, slower processors. Or it may simply be software that has had few improvements over recent years, leaving it lacking in functionality or unable to integrate with other, newer systems you have bought.
If your software is on-premises, it is more complex to update. With IT and finance directors reluctant to halt business so that these systems can be updated, critical updates and even routine maintenance is often missed. This means that on-premises software can often be several versions behind the current release.
Unless it is continuously updated, the older it gets, the more your legacy software will inhibit the growth and development of your company. Your business will have grown and evolved and your software may not have been able to keep up.
If you change your legacy ERP software, you can take advantage of cloud-based systems that are always on the latest version and newer functionality that is continuously being updated.
Get Ahead by Taking Action Sooner Rather than Later
Changing the software that is the backbone of your company is a significant undertaking. It comes with a certain amount of upheaval, requiring time to properly research software and plan the project.
So, it is always better to act sooner rather than later. Start the process as soon as you know that your provider will be discontinuing support, or as soon as you identify that your software is holding your business back.
This means that you can adequately pay attention to the research part of the process. Without any pressing need to change, you can take the necessary time to look at all the options. You won’t be rushed into making a potentially rash decision and your options will be thoroughly researched. Because of this, you are more likely to implement the system that is right for you.
If you start the project earlier, you also avoid running legacy software while it is unsupported. You won’t be using software that is holding you back, limiting your operations and impacting their efficiency. Unsupported software can be ineffective and result in you disappointing customers, leading to lost revenue and decreased profits.
What to Do Right Now if You’ve Identified the Need for Change
As soon as you identify that it’s time to change your legacy software, begin the research process.
First, identify the general needs you have. Do you want cloud software or on-premises? Do you need specific functionality – for warehouse management or professional services automation?
Then, take a look at who are the major players, using tools like Gartner Peer Insights. The Magic Quadrant tool helps identify the niche ERP software for certain industries, along with software leaders. For cloud ERP, the tool has separate options for service-centric and product-centric businesses that can be filtered according to business size.
Armed with a long list of software solutions from this, you can then start to assess your needs and take a closer look at the available options. You may even get as far as determining the precise software you want to use. In this case, you can begin to look around to find a suitable software implementation partner.