No one likes to take a look at their business and see that something isn’t working. Whether it’s something physical or something technological, it often means you have a costly replacement in the near future. But what happens if it’s not a complete failure, but a slow burn in which the thing that is failing spends months or even years faltering? Often is the case with business management software—something that people will use for years and never think about it.
People are passionate about their solution. It’s familiar to them and making a change sounds like a hassle. So they toil away in spreadsheets trying to make up for the solution when often, there is a better way.
In our last blogs, we discussed cloud facts, the push away from function-oriented yet disparate and data-oriented yet rigid suites to postmodern ERP and the main reasons that companies move to the cloud, but would today like to take a look at your current system. Namely, we would like to discuss some of the common challenges that organizations like yours face when outgrowing accounting software or evolving past legacy systems.
Outsized, Outdated? Two Scenarios
As your business grows, you face new challenges. Here are two very different scenarios that may occur—one from outgrowing an accounting software such as QuickBooks, and another from trying to push your legacy system well past its useful life.
While a small business can often get by with well-planned spreadsheets and extra effort, as the business grows, the sheer amount of data your business needs to process grows and grows. This means that your finance team will spend more time doing the bare minimum.
Reports take longer to generate, closing the books each month becomes even harder, and the team continues to see more risk from inaccuracies.
When Time Flies but Your ERP Speed Doesn’t
Alternatively, maybe you have an ERP solution and have used it for some time, likely between five and ten years (if not more). You pay support fees and continue to use it. It may feel familiar, but you’re not getting the same value from it. Forget about any kind of mobility or analytics capabilities.
The systems of the past aren’t designed for the businesses of the present. Laws and regulations change, decision makers expect more from finance professionals, and too often the systems get overloaded (especially if you haven’t done much archiving). Add to this the risk you take on from corrupted data or on-premises server failure (hardware ages too), the lack of security from not receiving a patch in the last five years, or the lack of integration capabilities, and you may feel like your system is no longer holding up.
Signs Your ERP No Longer Meets Your Needs
There are many signs that your current solution isn’t standing up to the pressures your business is placing on it, and while it may “bend” to adapt to your needs, it’s only a matter of time before the system falters. If any of the following apply to you, your “solution” may be more of a detriment than a benefit:
- It does not support the needs of the business (lacks functionality, is hard to use, response time is too slow)
- Getting a clear picture of your business only happens monthly.
- Inventory management is nonexistent and your best bet is hoping that you have a product on hand
- Ordering is reactive, not proactive
- It inhibits your efforts to adapt to changing customer requirements or market demands
- You rely on spreadsheets to get anything done
- Integration is impossible—solution architects don’t exist, the pool of talent for your software is shrinking, and you are copying and pasting a lot of information between applications
- Operating costs continue to creep up
- There’s no clarity as to where you are and where you are heading, forecasting and budgeting is harder to complete than a monthly or yearly close.
- Collaboration is an afterthought and you have impossible to manage email chains.
- You are unable to meet or exceed competitors’ customer service benchmarks because of system limitations or inflexibility
- Competitors routinely outperform on cost/price, quality, lead time, and/or service – they simply manage their business better
- Your system is unable to support the growth and change required by your business – you need better visibility and control
- Executives get little useful insight from the system (lack of dashboards, self-service BI – or they are difficult to use)
- You have difficulty complying with requirements from regulators, creditors or board members
Read more about the signs you are outgrowing your accounting software or outpacing your legacy ERP system here.
The Costs of Doing Nothing
In the coming months, we will explore in greater detail the process of evaluating ERP software by its return on investment and payback time, but remember, even if you face the aforementioned challenges—especially with a legacy system, it’s likely you’re paying the following.
- Annual maintenance fees as much as 20% of the list price per year. This results in repurchasing the license for the outdated software every 5-6 years.
- Ongoing operating expenses to maintain, upgrade, or replace servers, system software, networking equipment, and user devices.
- Ongoing people costs required to take care of the infrastructure and software, as well as any customer development for mobile devices or simple reporting.
- The software may no longer be supported by the manufacturer. You may even discover that the software no longer runs on the latest hardware and operating systems.
- Development resources familiar with your software version become harder to find.
- You find yourself trying to implement a custom solution at significant expense when the new version of the software has that feature built-in.
- More data and network security features are often included in new releases of software that leave you vulnerable if you choose not to upgrade.
Advance with Axiology
Whether you are outgrowing or evolving past your current “solution” there often is a time when you no longer can justify sitting by while your team suffers. At Axiology, we have worked with business like yours discover and implement ERP for the past two-plus decades and would love to help you.
We work exclusively with Acumatica, a leader in Cloud ERP designed to deliver functional, user-friendly, and intelligent ERP and would love to answer any questions you have. Contact us for a free consultation by filling out the form here, or giving us a call at (770) 538-1812.