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Getting the most from legacy ERP solutions

Your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software almost certainly represents a very significant investment for your organisation. So while the move to a cloud-based solution is probably being discussed already, financial realities dictate that the big move is probably 10 years away, and the big challenge is to ensure that you get the best value and performance from your legacy ERP solution in the meantime.

Not only is this necessary to deliver the best possible return on your investment, it is required in order to maintain operational efficiency. Perhaps surprisingly to many people, this is also necessary in order to maintain staff retention, as a recent survey by Intel and Dell discovered that more than 40% of Millennials would be prepared to leave a job simply because of inadequate office technologies.

Understanding The Scope and Limitations of Your Existing ERP

With the best will in the world, few ERP solutions can tick all of the boxes for every organisation from the word go. They all have their own unique needs and challenges; and tweaks to certain processes, or simply adjustments to facilitate organisational or legislative changes, should be considered part and parcel of the ERP arena.

However, in cases where the original ERP system was delivered by a provider without a complete understanding of your organisational needs, it is sadly quite usual for staff to try and paper over the cracks by creating their own workarounds: which are seldom as time-efficient as they would be in an ideal world.

For example, we recently performed a Process Review on an ERP system for a local authority, and discovered that a process used in the management of supply teachers was taking staff half a day per teacher to accomplish. By putting a more effective process in place, we were able to reduce that timeframe from half a day to five minutes.

How To Bring Your ERP Up To Gold Medal Standard

If you’re a sports fan, you’re probably familiar with the term ‘marginal gains.’ It’s the philosophy propounded by Sir Dave Brailsford, Performance Director of Cycling GB. His methodology was to look at every single aspect of race cycling, and look for just a 1% improvement in each one: reasoning that it would lead to a massive overall improvement. Many Olympic gold medals later, it’s fair to say that his theory works pretty well.

Just as importantly, it’s a theory that translates extremely well to the management of legacy ERP solutions.

Many organisations believe that the only way to handle inefficiencies is to create workarounds, hoping that the next upgrade will solve all of their problems. However, as many operational process problems are quite unique, that is almost always a forlorn hope.

So if your ERP system is making your organisation less efficient than it should be, the answer really isn’t to wait for the next ‘big bang’ to happen: when you will receive a major upgrade or move your resource planning into the Cloud.

After all, that could well be a decade away; or, to put it another way, two generations of management or two business plans into the future. Even then, there’s no guarantee that the new solution will be tailored to solve your organisation’s most significant pain points.

That’s why, in our experience, the best solution to ERP problems is to start looking for marginal gains in your existing system, which have the potential to remove the greatest inefficiencies and most time-consuming workarounds.

This needn’t necessarily involve setting out on a massive project. In fact, the capabilities to solve your pain points – from payroll anomalies to the integration of new EU Directives – could already be a part of your legacy system.

Therefore, what’s really needed is a comprehensive Landscape Review that takes a holistic view of your business and your ERP solution, in order to deliver a number of incremental gains that can together make your legacy system perform far beyond its current capabilities.

In fact, it’s perfectly possible that undertaking a Landscape Review now could help you to delay or even avoid the expense of moving your ERP solution to the Cloud.

So why not ask us about an ERP Landscape Review today? Who knows, it might just provide the marginal gains that make sure you’re the one on the podium when the medals are being handed out.

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