burning erp platform

Is Your ERP Platform Burning?

So, what’s holding back the deluge of ERP change for many institutions?

I believe that the flood gates will open when cloud providers can prove that they have a fully functional student information system that has been thoroughly tested. Higher education is not an industry that likes to be on the bleeding edge of technology. It takes time and a network of national technology leaders to build confidence in a new solution. At E&I, we’ve built a coalition of higher education CIOs and CPOs across the United States to give guidance and feedback to these solution providers trying to build software and restore confidence within the higher education ERP industry: the E&I National Coalition on Enterprise Systems & Services. This group of leaders will give honest and clear direction to solution providers and work to guide an industry that has been stuck in a business model born in the early 1980s. The HESS Consortium has been working to do this with all of its ERP vendor partners for several years now with some good success with many major providers.

 

Standing Still Is Not an Option

No matter what happens with these “legacy” solution providers, higher education has never been a market space that is prone to standing still. The progress may be slow — sometimes painfully slow — but I believe most institutions see the writing on the wall. When the major “cloud-native” solutions have fully functional and tested student information systems in production, the smoke may turn into a fire.

I recently read a good article by Elizabeth Quirk in Solutions Review titled “The Best Benefits of Cloud ERP,” which gives a great synopsis of the benefits of cloud ERP solutions and makes a concise and convincing case for cloud-native applications. The real question is: Do all CIOs see these benefits, or will they continue to see cloud-enabled solutions viable in the face of the costs involved with replacement and migration to cloud-native solutions? Many have made the jump and I believe that many more are in the wings.

The nonprofit organizations I work with are collaborating with leading companies on new ways to make the move to cloud solutions more manageable and affordable for our member institutions. By using cohort groups and collaborative contracts from organizations like E&I and HESS, their members can be the catalyst in bringing the future to colleges and universities stuck in the rut of legacy ERP solutions. The clock is ticking, and the future will be made on the strategic decisions and vision of “legacy” ERP providers as well as the current cloud-native solutions. As the Latin proverb goes, “fortune favors the bold!” The coming two years will reveal which are the companies with new and innovative ideas and which are the companies stretching out the same old solutions for the long haul.

Do you see your ERP solution provider as a cloud innovator, a follower or a legacy maintainer? What do you think your solution provider should do to renew or re-create a new vision for their software?

Source: Campus Technology 


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many businesses in Vietnam and China. Please feel free to contact us if you are wondering whether your ERP platform is burning. 

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successful ERP upgrade

Follow these guidelines for a successful ERP upgrade project

Get a handle on the time and cost variables of upgrading an ERP system and stay laser-focused on value drivers, like analytics, that has the biggest impact on business strategy.

With large ERP vendors, such as Epicor moving to the next major release is a significant project. The following guidelines can help you ensure an ERP upgrade runs more smoothly.

First, identify the costs and benefits of the ERP upgrade and when they are likely to occur. Based on costs, time and value, maintain a composite value indicator like net present value, ROI or internal rate of return.

Expect the vendor to provide templates that drive the ERP upgrade project. These templates should also be available from consulting firms such as Accenture and Deloitte. Staff will be hard-pressed to provide all the required manpower, so consider hiring consultants.

Much of the ERP upgrade game is about how close the project will come to the decommission date, the date the vendor will retire the existing software. Most companies postpone the end dates of these projects for a year or two to give themselves adequate time to complete them but doing so risks going beyond the decommission date. Missing the decommission date is generally a bad idea.

Careful study is required to understand what the new ERP software contains and how it will affect the business. Major components to examine include the following:

  • new horizontal business processes (e.g., financials and human capital management);
  • new vertical business processes for industries such as consumer packaged goods and oil and gas;
  • middleware;
  • data warehousing; and
  • reporting, analytics and business intelligence (BI).

Business process modeling

Business process modeling (BPM) is an essential tool in any ERP upgrade project.

Start by using it to examine current ERP-driven business processes. In some cases, your company may have replaced the out-of-the-box code with custom code or used middleware to integrate custom code into the original code. Next, perform the same exercise with respect to the new ERP business processes. In the best case, the new processes will supersede what you have. Otherwise, you’ll have to reintegrate the custom code into the upgraded system using a combination of middleware integration and BPM.

All business processes are driven by data, so you will also have to map data from the existing ERP system to the upgraded software. Moreover, the upgraded system is likely to require new data as well.

Middleware

You are likely to integrate custom software as well as third-party software with the new ERP system. The ERP vendor will likely change the middleware it offers with the ERP upgrade. Therefore, it will take some preparation to manage the new middleware messaging you’ll need to get disparate software components to talk to each other.

Data warehousing, reporting, and BI

An ERP upgrade project also brings data warehousing considerations.

For one thing, the ERP vendor might offer a data warehouse for storing data in the vendor’s preferred data format. It may or may not be extensible enough to include other data.

You are likely to already have a data warehouse strategy that you’ll need to revise to reflect the changes brought by the ERP upgrade. Whether you combine the new ERP’s data warehouse with your existing data warehouses will depend entirely on your BI strategy, another key factor in an ERP upgrade project.

In fact, reporting, analytics, and BI are likely to be the greatest profit drivers of the ERP upgrade and are functions that will see dramatic improvement over the previous ERP version. Moreover, they drive how companies articulate their competitive advantage.

Operational data mapping and integration

Several data-mapping tasks will be critical in the ERP upgrade, including mapping the chart of accounts to the new ERP system, staff details to the new human capital management module and product and bill of materials data to the new manufacturing system if you’re a manufacturer. You will also need to map customer and product sales to the new CRM system and assets to the new enterprise asset management system.

Impact on strategic planning

You can certainly do strategic analysis in the current ERP system, but it is likely to improve after the ERP upgrade.

Using the new BI features and the wealth of data migrated from the existing system, you can consider questions such as the following:

  • How sensitive are customers to the current pricing approach?
  • Can the company sell its current products for less without hurting margins too much?
  • Can the current product be improved or bundled with other product components?
  • How much does customer service affect the overall strategy?
  • How can the company improve how the sales and service staff face the customer?
  • What are competitors doing, and how should the company respond?

Source: Barry Wilderman, 

is upgrading erp necessary

Is Upgrading Your ERP Necessary?

Many companies have been wondering if it is necessary to invest in upgrading their enterprise resource planning -ERP – software. Our recommendation is usually, this should only happen for the upgrade is in the best interests of the users.

For companies opting to upgrade their ERP software system, there are some things the contract needs to include. Prime among these is a specific detailing of the functionality and performance of the newer model.

Furthermore, if either the vendor or integrator is reluctant or unwilling to include these warranties in the contract, it’s best to walk away from the deal. They’re signaling they know something you don’t. However, if there is a problem down the line, these written assertions will become your best argument.

Here is the crux of the issue.

Despite their largely successful track records with more mature systems, there is a legitimate question of whether the newest generation of ERP software systems is up to the task. SAP’s S4/HANA, Oracle’s ERP cloud and Microsoft’s D365 lack the track record of their predecessor systems of supporting the complex needs of many businesses and other organizations in the private and public sectors.

Until they have demonstrated their ability to seamlessly take over from a more mature ERP software system, a user is urged to upgrade needs to proceed cautiously. If a careful, internal analysis makes a business case for upgrading, then do so. Just remember to include in the contract all of the specificity in the agreement for your legacy system.

Furthermore, apart from the improvements that a necessary ERP upgrade will bring, some other points to cover include:

1 – Including all sales material as an appendix to the new contract.

2 – Detailing the specific responsibilities of the vendor, integrator and the user

3 – Drafting provisions that prevent “scope creep” without a senior person’s authorization.

4 – Removing or limiting binding arbitration clauses that may reduce your ability to recover damages from the vendor or integrator if there is a problem.

If there is an unfortunate history of ERP “train wrecks,” take steps upfront to reduce the likelihood of another one.

In nearly every aspect of running their organization, executives and senior managers are incredibly disciplined. Yet when it comes to their ERP software system, we’ve seen too many decisions made for the wrong reason. The most common seems to be viewing ERP software systems not a management solution. This is likely to result in the transformation heading straight for the rocks. It is similar to where the Sirens lured Circes and his entire crew to their demise.

Source: Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP – Marcus Harris

If you’re still unsure about the need to upgrade your ERP system, feel free to contact us and ask for direct consultation or a demo.

upgrade of ERP systems

8 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade to a Better ERP System

Few things are so daunting a prospect as a large-scale change in your ERP system. After all, the average ERP implementation project usually lasts around 6 months, some even 2 years. Likewise, the upgrade might take a few months, too. However, it is crucial and in many cases inevitable for the company’s growth. In this article, we’ll explain eight warning signs that indicate it’s time to upgrade.

Personnel is easily a company’s most significant cost. Once you factor in salary, benefits, employee development programs, the hiring process, personnel typically far outpaces anything else you spend on.

That’s what makes the right ERP system so crucial for your business. An ERP system that requires much manual processing to run on a day-to-day basis can negatively impact your employees’ productivity.

Not to mention, a plethora of manual processes also indicate a lack of scalability. So as you grow, your ERP won’t grow with you, and will instead require even more unproductive time from your people.

Reporting easily takes the cake as one of the most important functions of any ERP system. Thus, if your current ERP doesn’t enable you to quickly and efficiently view the most important metrics, it’s probably past time to upgrade.

Access to metrics is crucial to your company’s success. After all, without the right reporting, there’s no way for you to tell if your company will achieve its goals.

Few things kill a company’s growth momentum than a setback when audit time rolls around. Many smaller ERP tools or homegrown systems are unable to keep up with the ever-changing, ever increasingly-stringent requirements to maintain compliance. One slip-up here can be devastatingly expensive for your company.

Especially if your company currently or in the future would like to engage with any government contracts, you’ll need to ensure beforehand that you meet the strict compliance measures. Thus, it’s better to get the ERP upgrade out of the way now before that becomes a possibility, rather than have to miss out an opportunity down the line because you aren’t yet compliance-ready.

For the past few years, we’ve been saying that mobile is taking over. I’m here to tell you that today, mobile has taken over. Your employees are always on the go but also always have access to their smartphones. If your ERP system doesn’t have the mobile capacity, then you’re potentially missing out on hours of productivity.

How advanced is your tech stack? If your company is in any sort of high-tech or SaaS industry, part of the territory is a massively complicated tech stack to support all of the different functions of your business. Integrations are key for your employees to most efficiently leverage that tech stack to excel in their roles.

Having to constantly navigate between or manually send data across two different systems kindles unproductivity. If your ERP doesn’t play well with all of the other tools in your tech stack, it’s definitely time for an upgrade.

Though there may be myriads of technical, tangible factors of employee productivity, many of the elements that influence how well your personnel works are the intangibles, like morale. Don’t wait till your employees constantly complain about your current ERP and find it hard to do their job.

If someone’s motivation to work is being adversely impacted, you’ll get nowhere near 100% productivity from them. Don’t let your ERP be the root cause of a lack of morale.

Any large scale change to your organization, such as an overhaul, upgrade, or re-implementation of your ERP will require buy-in from upper management. Creating that buy-in is best done by building out a business case for the ERP upgrade.

As you build out that business case, you’ll be able to see the prospective ROI to make a well-informed decision. Take into account all of the systems and functions that you plan to upgrade.  Then compare the future state to the current state. How many hours per employee does each new or improved function save? How much is each hour worth? Will the impact of the new tool lead generation for your marketing team or conversion rates for your sales team?

Leverage the answers to all those questions while building out your business case. In the end, assess the RoI and see whether it outweighs the cost of an ERP upgrade. If it does, making the jump and committing to the improvement process is certainly a no-brainer.

The last but most tell-tale sign of an insufficient ERP system is an adverse impact on customer experience. As you well know, customers are the lifeblood of your organization. Your customer base waning means your organization’s death.

Research reveals that positive customer experience results in increased customer longevity as well as word-of-mouth marketing. A happy customer who enjoyed the experience of working with your company will also tell his/her friends about his/her positive experience. The net result of that means more dollars in your bank account.

But the opposite of that is so much truer. Customers are even more likely to share negative buying experiences than positive ones. Thus, if you’re providing a poor experience, your market will soon know about it. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial that you upgrade your ERP if some parts might contribute to adverse customer experience. Whether it causes a slow response time from your sales team or an overcomplicated purchasing process, it has to go.

Conclusion

If these warning signs show themselves in your organization, then it’s beyond time for you to consider upgrading your ERP. Daunting though the prospect may be, a dedicated team can help you implement your system upgrade easily and quickly.

Contact us to know more about how to upgrade your ERP.

highlights of Epicor 10.2.400

More Epicor 10.2.400 highlights

This post continues discussing the highlights in Epicor 10.2.400. (Here is the first part.) Especially, those related to Epicor ERP scheduling boards, mobile application, REST v2 OData v4 and Office Excel 365.

New Epicor Scheduling Boards

One highlight in Epicor 10.2.400 is the completely new design of scheduling boards. It enables you to easily detect overload problems and hanging conditions. You then can analyze schedule changes concerning cost and throughput before firmly committing them.

Epicor 10.2.400 highlights

erp scheduling

epicor 10.2.400 scheduling

So what are the specific Epicor 10.2.400 major features in these scheduling boards:

  • You can drag, drop or drilldown the schedule for multi-level assemblies and operation details.
  • The new timeline enables you to observe short-run operations, based on which you can analyze the long-run impacts of operations.
  • The view indicators, including late status and material availability, proactively send you notifications of potential problems in the schedule. Moreover, you can customize colors for your personal denotation. For example, you can categorize real, possible or delinquent load by task or operation.
  • You can flexible schedule and adjust the schedule for a single task and for the whole plant. In addition, you can lock tasks for key operations or define your priority and level capacity loads by resource/resource group.
  • In case of overload or needs of overload alleviation concerning resource/resource group, you can simply drag and drop load hours forward or backward.
  • These boards allow you to display each date and resource/resource group and access resource/resource-group as well as job scheduling information. As a result, you can check the causes of the problem and adjust the schedules.
  • The what-if (or potential/possible) mode also helps to analyze potential bottlenecks before you finish the actual schedule.

However, in case of preference of  the Classic Scheduling Board, you can easily find that option in the Menu. It is the button ‘Classic’.

Mobile application for time and expense

Some Epicor 10.2.400 major features include new time & expense mobile application. On the one hand, this function target at Requestors, whose job is to compose and send timesheet or expense reports for approval. On the other hand, its objective is to help Approvers to approve or reject timesheet or expense reports more easily.

Furthermore, this application is compatible with Apple iOS 11, 12 devices and Google Android 7.0, 8.0 ones.

REST v2 OData v4

The current upgrade in REST API is another Epicor 10.2.400 highlight. Its present version 2 takes advantage of the newest OData v.4. Thus, the way to specify the current Company as well as custom ERP-specific parameters in REST request URLs becomes friendlier. However, you need to review the changes properly when upgrading to version 2.

Here are the Maintenance Screens in Epicor 10.2.400:

  • API Key Maintenance
  • Access Scope Maintenance

Office Excel 365

Excel 2016 or higher versions are accessible now in Epicor 10.2.400.

epicor 10.2.400 excel 365

Epicor 10.2.400 highlights – to be continue

You can easily find a number of new features after upgrading your system to this new version. Though we cannot provide a full list at the moment, we are always here to listen and support you. Feel free to contact us here.


All photos and explanations belong to EpicHelp user hasokeric.