Is your old enterprise software hurting your company? It happens more than you think. Although your old enterprise system might still “work”, it could be wasting money, harming productivity, or holding your company back. How so? Here are three common ways that old enterprise software can hurt a company:
1. End users are forced to work outside of the system: If end users aren’t happy with the tools provided by an enterprise system, they find workarounds outside of the system. A common example: Enterprise systems often offer sub-par reporting options, driving users to create their reports with Excel. This is not only inefficient, but leads to errors and wasted money.
2. You pay for unnecessary licenses: How many of your licensed users actually use your enterprise software? For instance, maybe some licensed users are no longer with the company. Perhaps others have switched job roles and no longer use the software. Chances are, you’re paying more in licensing fees than you should.
3. Locks your company to old technology: Does your old enterprise software keep your company from taking advantage of newer technology like web applications, mobile apps, or cloud computing? If so, it not only makes your company appear outdated, it’s also keeping you from all of the benefits that come with these new features.
So, if your old enterprise software is harming your company, you must answer one big question: What are you going to do about it? After all, replacing an ERP, MRP, or any other type of enterprise system is no simple job. It’s expensive, risky, and time consuming. As anyone who has experienced it knows, when implementations like this fail, they fail spectacularly.
So, the question is: How can you breathe new life into these old systems without going through the risk and trouble of replacing it entirely? You’ll be happy to know that there is more than one option. I’ve outlined 4 ways that you can improve your enterprise systems without replacing them, and listed the pros and cons of each.
1. Customize your existing software
Customizing your existing software package to fit your needs is a very common approach. It involves modifying the software package itself to include all of the features you need.
Pros: This approach gives you the features you want, customized to fit the exact needs of your company. Additionally, these new features are built right into the system itself, so they’re easy to access and use.
Cons: As this involves modifications to the underlying system, it often requires hiring consultants from the vendor…which can get expensive pretty quickly. Additionally, modifying the software package directly can tie you to whichever enterprise software version you’re currently using. Upgrading to another version down the road will likely overwrite those customizations.
2. Purchase third party add-on packages
Third party add-on packages can be purchased and integrated directly into your enterprise system, providing additional features within your software.
Pros: This approach gives you the features you want, without the cost of building the new features from scratch.
Cons: These bolt-on packages often require changes to the enterprise software itself, creating the same problem as mentioned above: When it comes time to upgrade your enterprise system, all the work spent building that package into your system will have to be re-done.
Additionally, you’ll often need multiple bolt-on packages to address all of your needs. As more and more bolt-on packages are added, your enterprise system becomes more and more complex, which can lead to problems. For instance, some bolt-on packages might interfere with others, or minor changes to one area could break key capabilities in other areas.
3. Purchase third party software
Third-party software applications are similar to the bolt-on packages, except for the fact that they do not tie into your enterprise system.
Pros: This approach gives you the features you want, without altering your systems at all. This leaves you open to take upgrades without worrying about breaking anything.
Cons: Since the software doesn’t tie into your enterprise system, you’re stuck pulling data from your enterprise system and moving it to another database for use with the third-party software. This causes two problems: First, duplicating data opens the door for an increase in data errors. Second, the software doesn’t access real-time data, which defeats the purpose of a centralized enterprise system in the first place.
4. Build web applications that integrate into your existing software
Web applications can integrate directly with your enterprise systems, without any alterations to the system itself.
Pros: This approach combines the benefits of all the other methods: It gives you the features you want without altering your enterprise package at all. Additionally, since the web applications integrate directly with your enterprise software, it delivers real-time data without data duplication.
Cons: Building web applications from scratch will often be time-consuming, especially if you choose not to bring in any outside help. It also requires a fair amount of experience integrating web applications into your enterprise systems.
If you feel stuck to your outdated ERP or enterprise system, it’s not as bad as you think. Even if your company can’t possibly replace your core systems, you can still have the modern capabilities and features that you want. Make sure you understand all of your options, as well as the pros and cons of each, before going forward.
Do you need help building modern capabilities into your enterprise systems? Our web application development platform (m-Power) lets you upgrade your existing systems with all sorts of features, like mobile apps, customer portals, extranets, BI applications, reporting apps, and more. Better yet, it builds applications that integrate directly with your systems, without altering it at all. If you want to check out m-Power for yourself, you can sign up for a free trial right here.