ERP upgrades and updates might seem time-consuming, but they’re critical. They ensure that your system is always running at top capacity. With this improved performance, you lower your risk of system slowdowns and employee workarounds, which reduces overall downtime. You’ll also field fewer support requests and user questions.
Is it time to upgrade your ERP solution? Today, we’re providing the ultimate ERP upgrade checklist to guide you as you plan for this undertaking.
Why are ERP Upgrades Important?
There are a few different reasons why software vendors provide periodic software upgrades. These include:
- To improve system usability and efficiency
- To save users time, effort, and expense
- To add new software features
- To improve existing software features
By staying on the latest version of your ERP system, you can ensure that your employees always have access to the latest system features and capabilities. Your business can take advantage of this new functionality to improve your competitive advantage and stay ahead in your industry.
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ERP Upgrade vs ERP Replacement
When it comes time to upgrade your ERP system, you may wonder how the process compares to undergoing a full system replacement.
In most cases, an upgrade will be less disruptive than a replacement. Ideally, you’ll be able to preserve all integrations and configurations you’ve already created within your ERP software. This way, you can keep the user experience as consistent as possible.
Another benefit of choosing an upgrade over a replacement? As long as you’re satisfied with the service your current provider is delivering, you won’t need to research new ERP vendors. Instead, you can keep the same system, which reduces your need for organizational change management.
Your Ultimate ERP Upgrade Checklist
As you gear up for an ERP upgrade, we’ve got you covered. With so many moving parts, it helps to have a guide you can follow. Let’s take a look at a few of the most important steps in the planning process.
1. Ensure an Upgrade is the Right Decision
There are key department leaders within your organization who will be able to speak to whether your business should pursue an ERP upgrade or replacement. Bring these decision-makers together to discuss the best way forward.
You should also include end-users who are currently using the system on a practical level, such as:
- Supply chain managers
- Warehouse employees
- Sales and marketing team members
- Finance and accounting managers
2. Understand Your Current State
Involving the right stakeholders helps you define the scope of your project. This involves understanding your current state and your pain points.
Throughout this effort, you should ask questions such as:
- What business processes does each department currently perform within the software?
- What pain points exist within these processes?
- What improvements should be made to these processes to address these pain points?
3. Secure Executive Approval
If your project team decides to pursue an ERP upgrade, then your next step is to gain executive approval. This part is essential if you want to allocate adequate funding and resources to your project.
To increase your chances of gaining approval, we recommend outlining the business benefits that an upgrade will provide your organization. Then, present these benefits to the C-suite in the form of a business case.
4. Build a Project Team
In addition to department leaders, this group may also include project managers, subject matter experts, and even outside consultants.
Make sure each team member is able to dedicate the right amount of attention required by each project phase. While some phases require 100% of team members’ attention, other phases require less, so be sure to set realistic expectations.
5. Create a Project Plan
Determining internal resource commitment requires a detailed project plan that includes every upgrade success factor.
Will you need to perform any back-end database upgrades? How will you handle data integration and migration? Which legacy customizations will you retain, and which will you remove?
Remember to include end-user training and other change management activities. While you may be staying with the same system, you’ll likely be implementing new processes, and the workflows within the system also may change.
Everyone on your ERP project team should voice concerns, identify risks, and work collaboratively to develop a realistic project plan.
Is it Time for an ERP Upgrade?
ERP upgrades are an important part of optimizing your business investment. In many cases, an upgrade is a more effective and economical route than pursuing a full-fledged ERP implementation.
If you’re ready to pursue an upgrade, it helps to have a roadmap in place. This ERP upgrade checklist can help you plan your path forward and ensure you have realistic expectations.
Our ERP consultants can help you prepare for your upgrade and ensure it’s taken seriously by those who consider it an easy alternative to an ERP implementation. Contact us below for a free consultation.