Generally speaking, you should update your systems any time you have the option. When a vendor releases a new version of their ERP software, it likely includes features that will only improve your business (or at the very least, enhance the functionality and/or security of the software itself). If it’s been a while since you updated your enterprise resource planning system, here are three signs it’s time to go out with the old and in with the new:
1. Your enterprise resource planning system has reached end-of-life (EOL). Of all the signs you need to update, this is the most important. Software that has reached end-of-life (or “end-of-support”) becomes a security liability. As hackers find new ways to exploit the code in your software, your vendor no longer releases patches for those particular vulnerabilities — they’re prioritizing support for newer versions of your software. If your ERP has reached EOL, updating to the newest version means accessing those vital patches that protect you from data thieves.
In addition to increased security risks, EOL software suffers from a general lack of IT support — so when something goes wrong in your enterprise resource planning system, you might be forced to update to a newer version right then and there, rather than making that decision with plenty of time to plan, train and budget for a new system.
2. Your software lacks features that are becoming industry standard. Nobody likes change, and sometimes we’d prefer to use software and systems that our businesses are already used to. However, the cutting-edge features and functionality you’re not using are the same features your competitors are using to get an edge on the market. For example, if your enterprise resource planning system isn’t optimized for mobile and omnichannel sales, customer order allocation or real-time RFID, you’re missing out on the features that keep apparel and footwear manufacturers competitive.
3. Your ERP doesn’t integrate with current browsers, platforms and protocols. Remember when websites used to say, “Best Viewed with Internet Explorer” (or any other browser)? There’s a reason you don’t see that anymore — it’s assumed that your website or application will be compatible with any browser. Your enterprise resource planning system is no different. You can’t predict which browser your retailers and customers are using to access your ERP, and forcing them to use a specific browser can hurt the user experience.
Similarly, your ERP should be compatible with industry standard protocols and platforms. For example, if your retailers use the popular Magento platform for their ecommerce sites, you’ll want your enterprise resource planning system to include Magento integration.
Updating applications and systems as huge as your enterprise resource planning system is no small feat — new systems can incur huge capital expenditures, and productivity can dip as your personnel adjust to the learning curve. However, cloud technology offers a reprieve from some of these growing pains. With Software as a Service (SaaS) licensing, you can host your enterprise resource planning system in the cloud, and benefit from automatic software and system updates from your cloud provider — this means few IT maintenance costs, and no need to purchase new servers.
ABS’ ERP software provides companies with every feature they need to run an apparel or footwear business in today’s retail climate, which demands omnichannel sales capabilities and seamless collaboration between textile companies, apparel manufacturers and retailers. Our licensing options include SaaS/cloud hosting and on-premises hosting, so you have options when it comes time to update your enterprise resource planning system. Contact ABS today to learn more.