ERP software can be an expensive and expansive business scheme. Reluctance to upgrade or shift on from a legacy system is comprehensible. After all, if you’ve already gone through the hassle of one implementation, why would you do it again for a new system? Many companies decrease the use of their outdated legacy ERP software, excusing shortfalls and extended processing times just because the system can carry out basic ERP functions or that employees are just used to it.
However, as technology has efficient, the level of data visibility and insight has grown exponentially and legacy ERP software is getting left further behind in the dust. It’s time to stop with the excuses. By sticking around with your old ERP software, you put your company operations at serious risks that go beyond just unnecessary spending on software that will eventually become obsolete. Here are just a few of the possible negative outcomes that will affect a business holding onto legacy software.
As enterprise software consultants, we’ve come across several companies who have accepted ludicrous wait times to process data hours just for one bill of material to process, for example. The excuse you’ll usually hear for that kind of problem is just, “well, that’s the way it’s always been done, and we just deal with it.” Accepting that kind of thinking runs counter to everything ERP software is. The whole point of an ERP software system is to improve productivity and support streamlined operations on the shop floor. You shouldn’t accept delays as a natural side-effect of manufacturing technology. In the case of one of our clients, we reduced those hours of processing wait time to just a few minutes with the help of an ERP upgrade or implementation. Imagine how much more powerfully you can run your business when you’re not sitting around waiting for your legacy ERP to catch up!
Shouldn’t the promise of such a drastic reduction in operational time be enough to get you over any reluctance about new ERP?
In the modern business world, integration of your enterprise system is non-negotiable.
Legacy software can certainly be integrated, but it was not originally built with the idea of the totally interconnected enterprise in mind. Integrating CRM and ERP, for example, was not always seen as a necessity, and businesses often customized their existing ERP suites to carry functions that newer enterprise platforms, like CRM, can now perform. A traditionally customized and aging ERP system will contain a lot of disparate functions with very little communication between each arm. The mess of customization will eventually obstruct one of the main functions of your software; data reporting. Without total enterprise software transparency and seamless integration of your departments, you cannot collect all the critical information your business needs. Newer ERP systems have been built with the value of interconnectivity in mind they foster an environment of valuable collaboration, not obstruction, within your business.
Slow, obstructive legacy ERP software could also cause significant security problems down the line. As that outdated enterprise system gets older, it will slow down and lose support from the original system vendor. That lost support means your vendor isn’t investing in developing bug patches or improving security on your legacy platform. Unpatched ERP software is more at risk for attacks and automated scanning bots that could put your vital (and sensitive) company data in the wrong hands. That’s not to mention the fact that a total crash of your ERP could be unsupported by the vendor, leaving your IT team to figure it out in the dark themselves. The only way to take these significant security risks out of the equation is to upgrade your legacy software or to move onto a new ERP platform entirely.
The first ERP systems were focused solely on the shop floor, supporting the machinery on production lines and collecting data for their lines. They weren’t built to support the pipeline between that shop floor to the customer’s door. We mentioned earlier that one of legacy ERP software’s most common side effects is poor data visibility. That lack of software communication will inevitably translate to lower standards of customer service. For example: without inventory data, you cannot plan for upcoming demand, and your sales team cannot accurately communicate with clients about predictable delivery dates and manufacturing times. What’s more, some of the security risks we covered above could lead to critical events that cripple your entire ERP system. Any stoppage time on your shop floor, whether it’s hours or days, will translate to late orders, mistakes, and customers that won’t be coming back to your business.