How to Upgrade Your ERP System

A Careful Planning Process for your Upgrade

Your ERP System should last your company 15-20 years with regular upgrades. Upgrades will keep your system running reliably and efficiently.

Skimping on or ignoring upgrades altogether may save you money and disruption in the short run, but eventually, it will catch up with you.

A Careful Planning Process for your Upgrade

Your ERP System should last your company 15-20 years with regular upgrades. Upgrades will keep your system running reliably and efficiently.

Skimping on or ignoring upgrades altogether may save you money and disruption in the short run, but eventually, it will catch up with you.

Remember, you store critical, sensitive information on your ERP System. You don’t want to risk losing access to it, temporarily or worse, permanently.

By taking the time to think about a ERP implementation plan, you can eliminate the pain from upgrades.

Here’s how we would do it at Software ThinkTank:

  • Decide how often and when you want to tackle upgrades in advance. Companies may plan upgrades anywhere from every 2-6 years, depending on their industry and solution vendor. Be aware of the vendor’s (Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, etc.) support and maintenance policies to ensure your upgrades are performed before those policies expire.
  • Periodically talk to your system’s users about your ERP system and most importantly, listen to their feedback. What’s working for them? What’s not? Are there any functions they require that aren’t currently offered by your system? If so, can it be fixed with an upgrade? Communication with end-users encourages and reinforces system adoption, while making sure your upgrades are relevant.
  • Keep your people – from the boardroom down – in the loop. Outline your upgrade schedule and the rationale behind it to your employees. This ensures no one is caught by surprise and can plan around any anticipated downtime accordingly, plus that they understand why upgrades are necessary.
  • Justify the cost of upgrading. This can be challenging, given much of upgrading is done in order to mitigate risk. The key is to emphasize risks that can be more easily quantified, such as the importance of vendor support and technological obsolescence.
  • Define the scope of each upgrade early on and stick with it. Whether it is a technical upgrade or incorporates significant new functionality, changing your mind as you go invites the potential for the project to go off track, off budget and off schedule. Keep in mind, bigger isn’t always better – so if you don’t require the functionality offered in a particular upgrade, it’s okay to skip it.

Upgrading your systems can be daunting, but the longer you wait the more difficult it becomes. Sticking to an ERP implementation plan and the recommended schedule for your ERP System is the best way to avoid downtime, incompatibility issues and a lot of heartache.

Remember, you store critical, sensitive information on your ERP System. You don’t want to risk losing access to it, temporarily or worse, permanently.

By taking the time to think about a ERP implementation plan, you can eliminate the pain from upgrades.

Here’s how we would do it at Software ThinkTank:

  • Decide how often and when you want to tackle upgrades in advance. Companies may plan upgrades anywhere from every 2-6 years, depending on their industry and solution vendor. Be aware of the vendor’s (Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, etc.) support and maintenance policies to ensure your upgrades are performed before those policies expire.
  • Periodically talk to your system’s users about your ERP system and most importantly, listen to their feedback. What’s working for them? What’s not? Are there any functions they require that aren’t currently offered by your system? If so, can it be fixed with an upgrade? Communication with end-users encourages and reinforces system adoption, while making sure your upgrades are relevant.
  • Keep your people – from the boardroom down – in the loop. Outline your upgrade schedule and the rationale behind it to your employees. This ensures no one is caught by surprise and can plan around any anticipated downtime accordingly, plus that they understand why upgrades are necessary.
  • Justify the cost of upgrading. This can be challenging, given much of upgrading is done in order to mitigate risk. The key is to emphasize risks that can be more easily quantified, such as the importance of vendor support and technological obsolescence.
  • Define the scope of each upgrade early on and stick with it. Whether it is a technical upgrade or incorporates significant new functionality, changing your mind as you go invites the potential for the project to go off track, off budget and off schedule. Keep in mind, bigger isn’t always better – so if you don’t require the functionality offered in a particular upgrade, it’s okay to skip it.

Upgrading your systems can be daunting, but the longer you wait the more difficult it becomes. Sticking to an ERP implementation plan and the recommended schedule for your ERP System is the best way to avoid downtime, incompatibility issues and a lot of heartache.

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