Eight Signs It’s Time to Shift to a Cloud-Based ERP System

Eight Signs It's Time to Shift to a Cloud-Based ERP System

Just like any other technological tool, a moment inevitably arises when a company must contemplate retiring its existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. This may be driven by escalating maintenance costs, inability to provide real-time updates, or difficulties adapting to the evolving needs of a rapidly growing remote workforce. Alternatively, limited functionality could be prompting employees to rely heavily on inefficient workarounds, causing workflows to significantly slow down. These and other factors can trigger the need for an ERP system overhaul, steering the business towards modernization with cloud-based ERP systems.

A Guide to Transitioning Between ERP Systems

The role of a CIO or IT team might seem significantly easier if transitioning from one ERP system to another was as simple as flipping a light switch. However, the truth of the matter is that a successful ERP shift requires months of meticulous planning, comprehensive preparation, and effective communication throughout the organization. This process encompasses steps such as vendor assessments and product trials, system selection, ERP design with customizations and integrations, and the development of detailed project schedules, timelines, and significant milestones.

Once these foundational aspects are addressed, it’s time to gear up for the actual system transition. Process re-engineering and data migration, particularly data extraction, are often the most intricate parts of any ERP transition. To yield the most accurate results, ERP systems necessitate clean and consistent data. The migration stage involves creating a universal data model for the new system and thoroughly scrutinizing company-wide data to ensure compatibility with this universal format. Any incomplete or duplicate data needs to be updated, removed, or merged before it can be integrated into the new ERP system. Comprehensive user testing aids in verifying the efficacy of data migration processes and offers users an early chance to experiment with the new system and offer valuable feedback.

Upon completion of the preparation stage, and when the new ERP project is poised for launch, a company may choose to operate on a “better safe than sorry” principle. This entails running the old ERP system in parallel for a short period to confirm the new live system performs as intended. It’s crucial for companies to have communication avenues in place to receive and address user feedback following the deployment of the new system.

Essential Insights

  1. Obsolete ERP systems can induce a variety of profound challenges such as limiting business expansion, disrupting business operations, diminishing operational transparency, and potential data loss.
  2. While any software transition comes with its own set of short-term obstacles, the enduring advantages of transitioning to a contemporary ERP system significantly overshadow these initial difficulties.
  3. A growing number of businesses are pivoting towards cloud-based ERP systems, recognizing their value in terms of accessibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness.

Eight Indications That Your Business Needs an ERP Upgrade to Cloud-Based ERP Systems

Deciding when to switch ERP systems can feel like a balancing act akin to Goldilocks’s quest for ‘just right.’ Jumping the gun, when the existing solution is still adequately serving the business, may stir concerns about unnecessary expenditure and operational upheaval. Conversely, waiting too long may cause the company to suffer the financial repercussions of clinging onto an obsolete ERP system. So, what are the tell-tale signs that it’s the perfect time to upgrade your ERP?

  1. Your ERP System Does Not Align with Your Evolving Business Goals: A budding enterprise may initially meet its humble objectives using simple tools like QuickBooks or a basic ERP software that can manage a select range of operations. However, as the business evolves and surpasses what the current ERP can accommodate, it’s time to upgrade to an advanced ERP system that can not only meet the new demands but also adapt to future changes. For instance, if the business aims to expand multiple product lines, the ERP should be capable of managing intricate production schedules and comprehensive supply chain tracking. If international expansion is on the horizon, the need for advanced compliance and reporting capabilities becomes crucial.
  2. Your Business Has Outgrown Your ERP’s Scalability: Scalability refers to the ERP system’s ability to handle fluctuations in demand – ranging from the number of users and transactions to varying data volumes and functional requirements – without impacting system performance. For businesses that host their own ERP systems, scalability can pose a significant challenge as it requires considerable time and financial investment to procure, upgrade, and configure the necessary hardware and software.
  3. Your ERP System Lacks Integration Capabilities: Rapid growth often compels businesses to incorporate a diverse array of operational software that need to communicate seamlessly. However, disparate systems can lead to data inconsistencies or inaccuracies, resulting in flawed decision-making across daily operations. If your ERP doesn’t integrate with other systems, it could result in problems like selling out-of-stock products, disjointed workflows, or duplication of efforts.
  4. Your ERP System Is Hindering Business Processes: When an ERP system impedes business operations over a sustained period, it’s time to consider an upgrade. Old systems often lack rapid, real-time data access, leaving businesses unable to react promptly and informatively. Outdated ERP systems with limited scalability and functionality can also slow down operations, leading to manual workarounds and errors.
  5. Underutilization of Your ERP System: If employees are bypassing the ERP system or not utilizing it effectively, it’s a red flag. This could result from employees resisting change, especially when not involved in the decision-making process or from inadequate training. It underlines the importance of change management and comprehensive training in successful ERP implementations.
  6. Data Loss or Inaccessibility: Legacy ERP systems often rely on aging database software and hardware, becoming susceptible to downtime or crashes over time. If data isn’t adequately backed up or becomes corrupt due to scalability issues, it can result in substantial data loss. Security breaches, especially when the ERP system reaches its end-of-life (EOL), can also lead to data loss.
  7. Customer Impact: A failing ERP system doesn’t just hurt the business; it also affects customers. Slow business processes or an inability to scale can directly hit customer satisfaction. Order processing and fulfillment can become problematic without real-time inventory data, leading to stock shortages, delivery delays, and customers seeking alternatives. Customer service can also be compromised when agents lack real-time data to respond to customer inquiries.
  8. Excessive ERP Costs: One clear sign of an outdated ERP system is a steep rise in maintenance, upgrade, and patching costs for hardware and software. Additional expenses might include modifying the ERP or integrating it with other software as the company grows, hiring consultants to keep it aligned with business needs, or addressing issues due to the loss of vendor support and upgrades when the ERP reaches its EOL.

Hurdles to Overcome When Transitioning to a New ERP System

The adoption of a cutting-edge ERP system can revolutionize business operations, workflows, and even corporate culture. However, transitioning to a new system comes with its own set of challenges. The silver lining here is that by recognizing potential pitfalls, businesses can minimize or even circumvent them entirely.

  1. Data Migration: This is one of the most complex facets of ERP transition due to the inherent risk of data loss, particularly when the data resides in multiple systems. Before the migration process, data needs to be extracted, purified, deduplicated, and reformatted. This cleansing and reformatting process is intricate, considering data in various systems may use different fields for similar attributes (like “mobile” versus “cell”). These fields need to be aligned to a universal format. Without careful execution or adequate data backup, critical information may be lost, leading to inaccurate reporting, flawed decision-making, and possible compliance breaches.
  2. Business Disruption: Transitioning from one ERP system to another requires time, in-depth understanding of business operations, and meticulous planning—prior to, during, and post-transition. Companies must be aware of the potential impact of this shift on resources to avoid disruption to normal business operations, such as increasing customer response times. Prudent companies should anticipate some downtime and have contingency plans for worst-case scenarios. Furthermore, any issues during data migration, customization, or integration can also disrupt regular operations. Pre-implementation ERP readiness assessments can help companies anticipate the impact on business operations and prevent problems from emerging.
  3. Employee Resistance: As the saying goes, “change is hard.” Introducing a new ERP system often necessitates changes in work patterns that employees may be reluctant to accept. A comprehensive change management plan that communicates essential details about the ERP implementation—including objectives, timelines, and milestones—can help foster support and enhance employee acceptance and adoption. Incorporating training programs pre, during, and post-transition can further ease the transition.
  4. Time and Financial Investment: The transition to a new ERP system represents a significant investment, despite the long-term savings it promises. Unforeseen downtime can negatively impact productivity and customer satisfaction, and consultation costs can skyrocket. To avoid any unwelcome surprises, financial models should be created to prepare for various scenarios. Total cost of ownership (TCO) assessments can enumerate all the direct and indirect costs of ERP implementation, helping companies avoid unanticipated—and expensive—hurdles during the transition.
  5. Customization and Integration: The most advanced ERP system may still require customization and integration with other essential systems to cater to specific business needs. For instance, larger organizations or publicly traded companies might need customized reporting to comply with regulatory obligations. Similarly, businesses might need to integrate their ERP systems with industry-specific software or business intelligence platforms. Any customization or integration needs meticulous handling—often requiring the ERP provider’s expertise—to ensure precise data mapping, successful migration, and data security.

Advantages of Transitioning to a New Cloud-Based ERP System

Businesses contemplating a switch in their ERP systems frequently take this opportunity to migrate to cloud-based solutions, leveraging them to catalyze growth, enhance flexibility, and minimize costs. According to a report by Markets and Markets, the worldwide cloud-based ERP market is projected to witness a compound annual growth rate of 15% from 2022 to 2027. Regardless of the deployment method, transitioning to a new ERP system can yield numerous significant benefits:

  1. Efficient Cost Management: Particularly with cloud-based ERP systems, the elimination of on-premises hardware and software significantly trims the initial costs associated with ERP implementation. Further, continuous maintenance costs are reduced as the responsibility of maintaining the software in the cloud falls on the ERP providers.
  2. Enhanced Decision-Making: Modern ERP systems offer all relevant stakeholders real-time access to clean, consistent, and centralized data. The ability to make faster and better-informed decisions augments business agility. Additionally, these systems come equipped with detailed access controls for data, restricting visibility based on user profiles.
  3. Improved Collaboration: When a company operates with a shared, comprehensive view of the business’s deeper data layers, it leads to the organization “playing in harmony.” Insights obtained in this manner generally foster greater discussions and enhance team collaboration.
  4. Increased Automation: ERP systems automate a variety of business processes and workflows, which not only bolsters efficiency but also diminishes the error rate associated with manual data entry.
  5. Accessibility: Especially true for cloud-based ERP systems, accessibility to systems and data is offered anytime, anywhere, via an internet connection—a crucial advantage in our growing remote-work environment.
  6. Easy Scalability: Cloud-based ERP systems simplify the task of adding more computing, networking, or storage capacity—requiring just a click. In contrast, on-premises ERP systems necessitate hardware and software purchases and configurations, a process that can take weeks.
  7. Robust Security: Updated ERP systems provide the latest security features, including advanced encryption and access control mechanisms.

Accelerate Growth with NetSuite Cloud-Based ERP Systems

NetSuite ERP provides an integrated, comprehensive suite of cloud-based applications, all harnessing a unified database. This results in optimized, automated business operations; heightened collaboration; and precise, real-time insights into your business operations and trends. Its modular structure enables companies to augment advanced functionalities swiftly and effortlessly, supporting both front- and back-office operations.

Transitioning from legacy ERP systems to NetSuite ERP avails companies of a myriad of tools to smooth the process. They can leverage Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for straightforward customizations and system integrations. SuiteSuccess utilizes the insights garnered from thousands of successful implementations to design an implementation methodology that expedites the realization of value. Moreover, the NetSuite Customer Success program grants you access to a vast network of certified consultants who will work with you to understand your unique needs and challenges, and assist in devising a detailed implementation plan marked with key milestones.

Infographic Switching to Cloud Based ERP Systems

Staying ahead in today’s dynamic economy necessitates adaptability, swiftness, and the capacity to leverage data for astute decision-making. Intriguingly, these attributes also serve as the foundation of an advanced ERP system, fostering corporate expansion. As businesses push the boundaries of their antiquated ERP systems, transitioning to a cutting-edge platform could be the catalyst that triggers not just growth, but a comprehensive transformation.

Frequently Asked Questions About ERP System Transition

How can I transition to a new ERP system?

Transitioning to a new enterprise resource planning system necessitates a comprehensive implementation strategy, inclusive of a deep-dive analysis into current challenges and business procedures, along with a detailed list of business prerequisites and success indicators. It is crucial to assemble a project team early in the process to strategize and oversee discovery, design, development, testing, deployment, and support phases of the ERP implementation, supported by a well-structured communication and training plan.

Why do firms switch ERP systems?

Organizations switch their ERP systems for a multitude of reasons. Among the most prevalent is that their existing system has exhausted its potential and no longer satisfies evolving business needs. Obsolete technology is another major factor that can compromise data reliability and organization-wide transparency and incur high maintenance costs. For many, migrating to a cloud-based ERP platform provides an opportunity to stimulate collaboration, enhance efficiency, foster growth, and simultaneously reduce costs.

When is the right time to transition to a new ERP system?

Ideally, organizations should consider transitioning to a new ERP system before it starts to hinder growth, compromise security, and affect productivity. Indicators signaling the need for a switch include the system’s incapability to scale, dysfunctional processes, data discrepancies, and escalating costs.

How frequently do firms change their ERP systems?

Typically, organizations tend to switch their ERP systems every five to ten years. However, this timeframe can vary based on the organization’s size, complexity, and the emergence of major technological advancements, like cloud-based systems.

What role does change management play in an ERP implementation?

Change management in an ERP implementation signifies the methods deployed by organizations to effectively disseminate information about the new system, ensuring that all stakeholders feel engaged in the process and are, hence, more inclined to accept it. This process encompasses timely and continuous communication about the rationale behind the change, objectives, timelines, key milestones, and anticipated impacts.

Eight Signs It's Time to Shift to a Cloud-Based ERP System
Article Name
Eight Signs It's Time to Shift to a Cloud-Based ERP System
Discover the transformative power of cloud-based ERP systems. Boost efficiency, enable real-time decision-making, and drive scalable business growth.
Publisher Name
ABJ Cloud Solutions
Publisher Logo