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  • Writer's pictureChuck Coxhead

Top No B.S. Signs That You Need an ERP Upgrade

"Any digital solution that does not influence (organization and user) behavior is a waste of money."

Are You Ready to Transcend Business Chaos?

Your business information systems should help you to achieve new value and even change your trajectory. Productivity and workflow innovation are crucial to thrive in this fast-paced 21st century world. You simply cannot afford to languish in a world in which your competitors can pass you by. Speed is crucial, customer experience is paramount, and you need every edge that you can get to differentiate your company and your team from the competition.

So, how does a progressive-minded company invest in a new and productive future?

Well, it starts with a systems thinking approach to continuous improvement and productivity. Fortunately, with today’s business applications, technology is not a limiting factor in any way.

If you can dream it, you can do it.

…and this is in no way limited to the big budget behemoths that can afford major capital expenditures to improve their operations.

Solutions for small and medium business (SMB) and Enterprise can enjoy 21st century benefits like automation and even artificial intelligence (AI). Technology has evolved to such an extent that it can be approachable and affordable for everyone.

The trick is, whether SMB or Enterprise, how do you know if you actually need to consider an ERP?

The average every day big name researchers will give you all of the vanilla milquetoast bullet points.

  • You have lots of different software systems

  • Your systems operate in functional siloes

  • Your IT team is burdened with a large backlog that only ever seems to grow

  • You ERP or is outdated and support resources are dwindling

  • Your system has limited new functionality

  • Blah, blah, blah

Honestly, the business world is full of bright and capable people. So, I’m not going to waste your time with obvious bullet points.

Let’s get real and give some thought to the burning question... Do you need an ERP Upgrade?

Do Your Processes Feel Out of Control?

Let’s face it. It is crucial to your growth and employee morale that the day to day feels smooth and effective. Employees need information readily available to make decisions. YOU need information readily available to make decisions. In the absence of steady and easily executed workflows and good data that helps you and your employees to make confident decisions on how to become and remain effective, you will be left scratching your head and some will even feel helpless in certain situations.

You have that now, you say. How many hours per week or month does it take to prepare reports using Excel and Word? Do you even know? This time can be best spent by your employees focused on higher value work. Of course, (many) reports are high value in that they provide that critical information. A highly effective dashboard and reporting infrastructure, however, can automate this with ease and allow your folks to focus on the decisions far more than they focus on the busy work of preparing reports.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

It is likely that your organization does some things because, "that's the way we've always done it". It is also possible that you hear "but it will only take me 30 seconds" more often than you should. If you took the time to add up all of the extra time spent doing things "the way you've always done them" plus all of the "30 second" tasks, you'd recover a LOT of time.

Once you tackle these gremlins and more, a feeling of chaos can subside and peace can return to the workplace.

Are Your Users Grumbling and Complaining?

Where there is smoke there is fire. Your employees know how to run your business and they know when something should be improved. Whether or not they use the right language, if your team ridicules your system or tells you that it sucks, you might want to listen. You hired them for a reason. Alternately, you trained them for a reason. Your team is full of thinking, caring individuals who instinctively want to do the best job that they can. If the User Experience is poor, you may experience employee turnover and...

The cost of attrition is high… very high.

Does Your Team Need Time to Assemble Reports?

(Yep, we're covering reporting twice)

Even worse, is reporting a cost driver? This is a waste of time that could be spent creating new value for customers, employees, and stakeholders. Reporting is not an innovative feature in business systems. Robust and fast reporting is table stakes for both ERP and for business requirements. “Excel hell” is simply not acceptable and certainly is a big opportunity cost driver. 21st century business needs instantaneous reporting at their fingertips to monitor Effective Performance Indicators (EPI) continuously. This allows minor adjustments to be executed before they become big problems. Your team should not be spending any time assembling reports… ever. Now that AI has jumped onto the scene in a big way, creating usable information from unstructured data is more accessible than ever for everyone. ERP can and should deliver the information that you need in near real-time to facilitate awareness and decision-making.

Do You Love Your On-premise Servers?

Do on-premise servers make you feel more secure? Check the news. Cybersecurity hacks can happen everywhere and anywhere. Is your team up to the latest challenges?

Here’s a quiz to see how things are going?

Does your IT team attend regular cybersecurity training and keep your practices up to date?

The truth is the cybersecurity world is evolving rapidly. It takes a continuous effort to attempt to stay ahead of ne’er-do-wells who would crack your system for fun, profit, or evil. This kind of expertise is paramount and is obtained, essentially, free with a cloud solution. These companies must assure security or go out of business. The same applies to your business. Wouldn’t it be better to outsource much of that load to the cloud solution developers?

Are you even aware of the new CMMC 2.0 Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification?

Coming soon to an IT department near you, allow me to introduce CMMC 2.0.

CMMC 2.0 Model Structure


How often are your systems backed up and tested?

We recently spent 5 months, yes 5 months, restoring a client to their previous state and updating their systems to avoid future disaster. Why? Their backups were untested and they failed to restore properly after the company systems were breached.

You’ve been warned.

What is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of your on-premise server compared to a comparable cloud solution?

Does your team even know? In a recent Total Economic Impact study, the TCO for Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud vs Dynamics AX on-premise solutions resulted in a 3.4% reduction. That’s peanuts you say? Well, that cost reduction also returned 122% Return on Investment (ROI) while enabling future return for the of the system. While the numbers may change the qualitative results are consistent across solutions and systems. Whether SMB or Enterprise, cloud solutions simply deliver more value over time.

Why are you clinging to your servers again?

2020-07 The Total Economic Impact Of Migrating From Microsoft Dynamics AX To Microsoft Dy
Download • 807KB

Download the report

Do You Even Discuss Process Automation?

Many, many folks like to say, “do more with less”. What kind of heartless employer are you? I hope you won’t ever say that in front of your employees. They may fear for their jobs and get that resume on the street. Did I mention how expensive attrition is? I prefer to say, “do more with the same”. This is obviously more employee friendly. It communicates that we will improve productivity and we will remain loyal to you and even invest in your growth here by finding ways for you to execute more valuable tasks… without extra burden. Combine with leaders who inspire and you have a winner. But, it starts with investing in productivity.

Honestly, process automation is possible at every level with technology today. From Accounts Payable (AP) Automation to seamless integration between Engineering design software and ERP, and so much more, you can automate the repetitive tasks in your daily workflows. This is the point of business applications in the first place. You could go back to pen and paper or languish with a minimum viable bookkeeping solution. Or you could adopt a systems thinking mindset and a continuous improvement culture and always be striving to “do more with the same”.

Are Your Customers Grumbling and Complaining?

Do you even ask them? OK, that’s a different discussion for a different day. But, if your processes leave your customers wanting for improvement you had better listen to them. Whether your ego lets you believe it or not, you are being compared to every vendor they have. Their material suppliers are compared to their service providers. Everyone is being compared to one another, whether consciously or sub-consciously. If you are more difficult to work with than their other vendors, they will develop favorites. You surely want to be one of the favorites. If you are not, and you have a significant hiccup one day, you may become expendable.

Every company has bumps in the road at some point. But, their favorites earn good will and are more likely to receive grace and cooperation in return. So, your ERP had better influence your behavior to create ever-improving customer experiences at every level, whether sales, service, or delivery.

So, Do You Need an ERP Upgrade?

I’m pretty sure that you get where I’m coming from on this. Business leaders can bury their head in the sand for only so long. They may cling to the notion that cash is king to the exclusion of all else… including improving the business. To avoid stagnation, attrition, lost customers, frustrated employees, or worse; you may need to open up your mind to the possibilities that there may be a better way. But beware, once you get on the continuous improvement train you won’t want to jump off. It is richly rewarding and, dare I say it, even fun to constantly experience the highs of working smarter, faster, happier, and more effectively.

By the way, you may wish to sell your business one day. Or you may invite investment into your company. I can see the wrinkles in the noses of those folks if your systems are antiquated and your operations are not growth-ready. I’ve consulted with business exit professionals on numerous occasions. In every case, they have affirmed that businesses that are not growth-ready do not sell easily and they are not inviting to investors.

The good news is that you can plot a new course, starting today. Ebenezer found a way to enjoy life by investing in a bright new future and you can too.


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