Ask most companies and you’ll get the same answer. The ERP software upgrade process is both disruptive and expensive, especially for those companies that have modified their legacy ERP solution.
Research backs this up; please note that Aberdeen’s recent ERP survey of 878 companies revealed that the average upgrade cycle is 3.5 years.
Not So Timely Releases
Most ERP vendors issue major upgrades “releases” every 12 to 24 months with minor code shipments on a more frequent schedule.
As a result, the ERP user company tends to skip major releases on a regular basis, depriving themselves of fixes, improvements and new functionality that they are paying for with their annual maintenance fees.
Even without modified code, the upgrade process is still burdensome. Expensive IT resources are needed to apply the release. User retraining and/or procedural changes might be required to accommodate changes in functionality. Companies may not be interested in, or have a need for, the new functions provided. Nevertheless, skipping the release also skips any ‘bug’ fixes that may be included.
What’s the Solution?
Certainly not the current model.
Software vendors can’t easily support countless versions of their products, so they must impose some restrictions on what version(s) is/are ‘current’ and the frequency of major releases.
On the other side, user companies cannot be expected to accept updates at the whim of the supplier – it’s hard enough for them to deal with annual or bi-annual releases.
An Extreme Makeover
To fix the problems that come with the current release process, the needed approach is extreme application development (also called agile development). The vendor delivers a continuous stream of maintenance and enhancement without packaging the changes into releases.
At this time, the extreme approach is only available for internal development and in controlled situations like a single-source, multi-tenant SaaS environment.
Note: The inclusion of guest posts on the Panorama website does not imply endorsement of any specific product or service. Panorama is, and always will remain, completely independent and vendor-neutral.