When implementing a new ERP system, you may be facing a lengthy process. Due to this potential drawn out process, the solution could be creeping close to obsolescence during the time a company progresses from discovery to go live. The ERP market is very fast-paced with product development happening at an accelerated rate which means that end-users need to stay up to date with their ERP solutions.
A lot of organisations will ask themselves why they have to upgrade when they can just use it for a few years and then move on to the next generation ERP solution. What they don’t take into account is having a technological advantage on their competitors when they take advantage of upgrades as well as making it easier in the long run.
Here are some key reasons why companies should stay up to date with their ERP upgrades:
ERP implementations are costly, not only in money, but also in time. So, it’s understandable that a lot of companies may wait years until they absolutely need to upgrade. Customers now need to be current with a number of different things ranging the Power BI and Flow, to PowerApps. Not only does the organisation as a whole need to stay on top of it, but they need to get their staff on board for it as well.
A lot of the times if employees don’t see the direct benefit to themselves in keeping the ERP system up to date, it can be tricky to get them on board. That’s why a well thought out change management model needs to be implemented.
Involve Your Staff. Users are usually the ones that know how their jobs can be improved better than anyone else. Consultants can indeed add value by helping with the implementation when tackling new/unused features of the system, but it’s very important to trust your staff. It’ll be key to getting your staff onboard the upgrade train if you listen to what they need and allow them to take some ownership of processes, rather than allowing an external aid taking over the entire thing.
Communicate. Communication with stakeholders is key. Whether it’s good or bad news, project managers need to tell all affected as soon as possible. This needs to be a two way street with users communicating their requirements as well. If communication lines between the management team and stakeholders are open then getting staff on board becomes a lot easier.
Training. It should go without saying, but training is also a major factor in a successful implementation. However, be careful not to fall into the pitfalls of poor training. Timing for training is very important, if it’s done too early then users will forget the information, if it’s done too late it could be rushed. Remember that your staff needs to understand the processes and what they can accomplish within it. For this you can either invest in training for the whole company, or if that’s not feasible choose a few “super users” which will then relay their knowledge to others.
Microsoft now offers a cutting-edge ERP system, thanks to their continuous evolution of Dynamics AX to the Dynamics 365 product suite. Microsoft’s strategy that offers system updates and an Azure architecture makes it clear that they want their customers to be along for the ride as and when they release new upgrades.
With all of this and their efforts to upgrade customers to Dynamics 365, there are still customers on old AX systems. The older it is, the harder it becomes to smoothly transition to Dynamics 365. Loses of relevant data can be a major consequence of it as well. The reason is that some customer-driven modifications made in older versions of AX may be the norm in Dynamics 365. Some non-existent modules may be intrinsic in the newest releases, much like the current cost accounting one.
There are now so many tools provided by Microsoft to help ease upgrades. They’re a great resource but only if relevant to the ERP system. If a company’s AX system is close to being obsolete however, these upgrade tools don’t really work, giving you less functionality and flexibility when having to transition. With the effort that Microsoft has been putting into innovation and developing cutting edge system it only stands to reason that customers should keep up to date with new versions to benefit.
ERP implementations and their success is up to the company at the end of the day. If you’re up to date with technology, it eases the impact, making it easier for the team to get on board as it’s encouraging. It’s not a tough thing to achieve, particularly when opening channels of communications, training and allowing your staff to own their processes. There’s nothing better for business than a healthy ERP lifecycle, so don’t shoot yourself in the foot!
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