Any decision involving a major change to your IT infrastructure needs to be carefully considered. You should always be asking whether your IT, and ERP specifically, are delivering as much value as possible. But any change on this scale will create a disruption, one your business might not want or need.
The decision-making process boils down to weighing the pros and cons. There are valid arguments for both switching ERPs and sticking with what you have. The key is to determine how those apply to your organization and now and in the future. Weight both sides of the argument to determine the best course of action.
- New Features – A big part of the appeal of a new ERP is the features and functions it adds to your toolbox. These might expand your capabilities or more closely fit your unique needs. They will also likely reflect the best of current technologies. At some point the ERP you currently rely on will reach obsolete status if it is not being updated regularly.
- Fresh Start – Some ERPs are a disaster from the beginning. Others become slow and unwieldly over time. In either case, a fresh start can help you wipe the slate clean. Your new ERP may be better equipped to avoid the problems of the previous system. At the very least it will reinvigorate your staff’s engagement.
- Better Provider – The quality of an ERP and the quality of the provider are closely linked. If your current provider is bad about service, pricing, or updating you may be able to improve all three by switching. You can make an especially big upgrade by simply relying on a provider rather than accepting the cost and confusion of managing a solution in-house
- Cloud Capabilities – If you do not currently rely on cloud ERP solution, the overall quality of your solution is significantly compromised. Moving to the cloud allows you to take advantage of expansive capabilities for scaling, customizing, managing, and securing your ERP. The features of the cloud on their own are reason enough to consider switching.
- Cost – Switching ERPs will always create considerable costs, both direct and indirect. The investment in implementation will likely be significant. And the effects of the switch will have impacts on productivity and efficiency throughout your ranks. Ideally those costs will be exceeded by the gains your new ERP provides, but accomplishing this takes careful planning and oversight.
- Confusion – ERP is intended to be a solution that permeates every one of your workflows. If your team is used to relying one system, switching to another can create a lot of confusion and frustration. Any new ERP will involve a learning curve. And staff who are set in their ways could be resistant to the change. A temporary disruption is inevitable, but a longer-term decline in performance is also possible if companies do not prioritize training and engagement.
- Risk – As the saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. A new ERP will always look like an improvement, especially if you have a sales person making the case. But the simple fact is that a new ERP can make things better or worse. You always risk being saddled with an inferior solution when you gamble on making a switch.
The key is to consider both sides carefully. Even the best new solutions include drawbacks. And even the worst existing solutions provide some value. Consider the needs of your entire organization before moving in one direction or the other.