If your ERP system was implemented in the previous millennium and is no longer supported, it is time.
If you love the solution you implemented just last year, it is not time.
Seems self-explanatory so far…
But the reality is that almost everyone sits in that big, grey spectrum between the two extremes. So, how do you know the right time to change your ERP, or any part of your technology plan? Plenty of articles on the web are designed to nudge you in the direction of change, many with valid, credible considerations: the hidden costs of continuing with your current system (several of which listed below), security concerns, reliability…but how does that relate to timing? How urgent is the need? Can you get by another year? For most, no time feels like a good time.
I was working in outdoor education when I was first introduced to a Risk Square. We staff members were explaining to trainees how to deduce which activities are appropriate for the program participants. Any activity with extreme consequences AND a high likelihood of experiencing those consequences (i.e., cave diving with no training) was nixed. Activities that lie in the low-risk quadrant were fine (though not very exciting). Those other two quadrants are that grey area, and that’s where all the action is.
Clearly, a full system failure with data loss has extreme consequences. How likely that scenario is may be hard to predict and will vary by company. What about more likely events like experiencing inefficiency due to redundant data entry? Map every scenario/scenario category you can think of that would influence your business. Here are several suggestions that fall within three categories:
1. Inefficiencies of current system
These time leaks often feel insignificant but, in reality, can add up to noticeable effects on profit.
- Overuse of excel spreadsheets
- Time wasted on tasks that should be automated
- Inefficient workflows
- Inconvenient access to data outside the office
2. Lack of data visibility and interpretation essential for decision making
With current API functionality, you should expect to access any metric, measure, chart, or graph you would like to see, even if the data is stored in different applications.
- Inability to measure and see Key Performance and Trend Indicators
- Limited ability to budget or forecast
- Challenges in information-sharing between your tools and apps
3. Effects on impressions and morale
These issues can be hard to measure and often fly under the radar of some businesses as their impact is underestimated.
- Employee frustration with redundant/inefficient tasks
- Appearing arcane to prospective clients
- Inconvenience imposed on customers/vendors
Once you have mapped these points and any others of which you thought, eyeball the visual result. If you have any in the top right quadrant, start your search now! Also pay close attention to points mapped in the adjacent quadrants, especially those that group and trend together.
You do not want to wait until there is an emergency nor even an urgency. Starting the search and selection process late can devastate the possibility of a smooth implementation.
If you need help with this kind of assessment, contact a well-respected consultant (or two). They will often assist at a discounted rate and/or include an assessment with a scheduled product demo.
Wishing the best for your business!