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3 Things to Consider When Replacing a Legacy System
By Daniel Griffin, Director of Product Management, Exact Macola
A typical legacy ERP solution, based on out-of-date technologies, can create a lot of headaches for business owners, including rigid development and delivery methods, functionality gaps, costly and complex upgrades and difficult-to-manage programs. Based on this, modern business leaders recognize the pressing need to abandon such systems for real-time views across front and back-office operations so they can gauge and continuously improve the health of their overall business. They are faced with increased pressure to monitor key drivers of internal performance, yet they are also tasked with accomplishing more with fewer resources.
To make a seamless transition to a modern system, here are three steps business and IT executives should consider:
"Automating all business operations– from the frontend to backend–will create an efficient, well-oiled machine across the entire organization"
Leaning on technology for reporting needs- Many small businesses rely on outdated systems to keep track of business operations, creating a huge risk for data inaccuracy or lost information due to turnover or other changes in the organization. By choosing to track such information via a secure technology system, organizations have the ability to capture and retain intellectual capital while controlling access to sensitive information. Instead of information sitting in a file cabinet or on an individual’s laptop, access is controlled via rules- and role-based guidelines. This opens lines of communication with outside partners, suppliers and customers while providing greater controls over, and visibility into, who has access to what information.
Workflows to streamline and consolidate operations across the business - Integrating a range of back-office functions, such as materials planning, manufacturing, distribution, shipping and accounting, helps optimize performance within each of those areas. In the past, legacy systems were designed to bring automation that improved manufacturing processes. This included tracking issues such as raw materials, work in process, inventory, order entry and cost accounting. However, these traditional systems were missing a tremendous opportunity for improvement by leaving front-office activities such as sales, marketing, documentation and support out of the equation. Automating all business operations–from the frontend to backend–will create an efficient, well-oiled machine across the entire organization.
Eliminate duplication with integration - Integrating different online business systems, including financial applications and delivery software, allows employees to enter data only once and make it available anywhere for anyone who needs it in the company. By doing this, organizations not only have a record of what is happening within the business, but the added context of understanding the implications of these interactions—greatly enhancing decision-making. Most importantly, an integrated system shows the interrelationship among various facets of the business. For example, a sales rep now has insight into the billing status of an account before visiting that customer; a marketing manager is able to see what excess inventory is still available before choosing which product to promote in a digital campaign; a shop floor manager can see which products cost the most to produce. These open processes foster greater collaboration both inside and outside of the organization, leading to improved performance and increased profitability. In addition, by bringing together multiple disciplines and knowledge bases, organizations can identify the direct and indirect influences upon their operations. For example, customers are empowered to access their account information and easily place orders, greatly enhancing their relationship and satisfaction with the business, while suppliers can interact with the organization more readily via the ability to check inventory on hand.
2016 is the time for organizations to upgrade their legacy systems and centralize critical business information. By doing so, they will put themselves in a better position to boost profitability and accuracy, reduce operational costs and ultimately shape the future of the company by improving the bottom line.