3 ERP Upgrades You Should Consider in 2014

Whether you are considering a new ERP this year or considering an upgrade of an existing ERP system, here are a few functional areas for your consideration.

Cloud ERP

The promise of cloud ERP systems is that your total cost of ownership will fall. Usually this is true. The up-front costs can be as low as zero. You pay only for the software you use with no ongoing maintenance costs and your data is kept safely offsite. All you need is a good connection to the internet.

When considering a cloud ERP upgrade, pay attention to the ERP vendor’s definition of the cloud. Some keep your data offsite while you maintain the software whereas others are completely offsite. The industry probably needs standardization of terms in this area, but if you are looking for a low-cost of ownership as part of your ERP upgrade, you should consider a cloud system.

Mobile ERP

We are all mobile today. Our smart phones and tablets are glued to our palms. Most ERP systems should have no problem connecting to your device of choice, but pay attention to the quality of connection they offer. You do not want to scroll up, down, and sideways to see a big-screen form on a small-screen phone. You want to know there is a native app for that. Think about what business processes you will need to accomplish on the go and bring those requirements to your ERP vendor as part of your ERP upgrade project.

Social Collaboration

Social networks connect all of us around the globe. ERP is also a communication network. We all see exactly the same sales order and the same inventory. ERP provided that shared data from the beginning. With social ERP, we can also share thoughts and ideas. I can pose a problem and a co-worker in another country can suggest possible solutions. These might come from a discipline I had never considered a potential source of a solution. Beyond numeric communication, incorporating social collaboration into our ERP upgrade can achieve softer, more qualitative communications within the system.

Change Management

One difficult part of any ERP upgrade is the people part of the change. We can convert data. We can buy faster computers and networks. But we still need to convince Charlie and Nawal that they will be better off with the new ERP we are going to install. We need to know that our job will be easier or more efficient after the ERP upgrade. We need a reason to buy into the project. This may not be software functionality included in the new ERP. It could be expertise provided by your implementation consultant or the abolition of a labor intensive workaround. Managing the evolution of employee processes during an ERP upgrade is crucial to any project’s success.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller

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