A surprising number of organizations run on truly outdated ERP systems. We routinely encounter systems that are not just one or two versions behind, but aging technology deployed before the advent of smartphones and cloud computing. And in some cases even predates the internet or graphical user interfaces. We know that not every company can be on the leading edge of technology. But if you’ve allowed your systems to fall this far behind, your business may be suffering as a result.
Does Your Business Run on Real-Time Insight?
One of the most tangible drawbacks of an aging ERP system is the difficulty of extracting data. You need real-time information to anticipate trends and changing markets. Real-time information uncovers performance issues, identifies new opportunities, and gains the insights that drive business innovation. Without access to data, your decisions are based on past experience or “gut” feelings—and liable to be wrong.
An outdated ERP system limits access to information in two ways. First, because they are typically not fully integrated with other line-of-business systems, legacy systems often fail to capture real-time operational data. Meaningful analysis requires that data be entered manually—or more commonly, that people maintain standalone spreadsheets for offline analysis and reporting. Both scenarios are time-consuming, inefficient, and potentially error-prone. And they don’t support the “single version of the truth” that keeps everyone moving in the same direction.
What’s more, legacy systems can make reporting and analysis difficult or even impossible. Even with dedicated analysts or expensive third-party reporting applications, you may not be able to extract the insight you need from your operational system. Standard reports may take days to prepare, slowing your decision making. And worse, ad hoc queries go unanswered, leading people to rely on intuition—rather than facts—to make critical decisions.
If your business is run on spreadsheets and instincts, it’s a sure sign that your ERP is out of date—and that it’s slowing you down.
Is Your Business Proactive or Reactive?
Another request we often hear is for systems that can alert users to significant events or to conditions that require action. ERP systems that don’t capture or analyze real-time data and that lack modern communication and collaboration features, can’t provide the proactive notifications that allow you to identify and correct a condition before it becomes an issue. Without advanced alerting and notifications, you risk running out of parts or components, overlooking maintenance needs, or being unaware of changing market conditions until it's too late.
Modern ERP systems constantly monitor myriad business conditions, from cash flow to the factory floor. Modern systems alert you to changing conditions according to the rules you specify. Visual dashboards and email or text-based messaging keep you apprised of key performance indicators and critical conditions, so you can act fast.
If you’re using an outdated ERP, your business is most likely reactive rather than proactive—and that’s slowing you down.
Is Your System Stuck in One Place?
These days, people rely on their phones for just about everything: real-time news, calendar, communication, even creating and consuming business documents and spreadsheets. If your ERP doesn’t support mobility, you may be drastically limiting the efficiency of your organization.
Providing your service and sales people in the field with inventory data, real-time order processing, and calendar or routing information can save countless hours of travel. It can also speed the order-to-cash cycle. The ability to support remote and home workers--and to quickly onboard new locations and offices--keeps your organization connected. It also reduces demands on IT. With more people working remotely, remote and mobile access to ERP information is no longer just a ‘nice to have’.
But most outdated ERP systems don’t provide secure internet-facing applications—let alone support for mobility. Lack of connectivity hampers your people in the field. It also delays the flow of information, contributing to the lack insight we’ve already discussed and negatively impacting customer service.
If your ERP doesn’t allow mobility, your business isn’t moving as fast as it should.
Is it Time to Take a Look at Your ERP?
Is your ERP slowing you down or keeping your business from reaching the next level? Western Computer can help you identify applications and processes that may be holding you back. Our consultants apply industry-specific business knowledge as well as software expertise to identify areas where your organization can benefit from modernized systems. And we’ll help you chart the path to get there.
If you’re ready to explore ways today’s ERP systems can transform your business,
by Western Computer