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Time to Upgrade...or Not?

Jul 17, 2017 12:00:00 AM / 0 Comments / in ERP Implementation by Hope Enochs

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This is a big question which businesses must ask themselves on a somewhat regular basis, probably more often than they would like. Ultimately, the answer to the question is yes, and that’s based strictly on the rapid pace with which information technology keeps changing and improving. Most companies skip a version or two of their business systems software releases unless there is a good reason to upgrade, such as support ending, or new features in the new releases that are important to the business.  With the recent release of Dynamics 365 Enterprise, it's hard to ignore the improved processes and the positive impact it could have on companies. Therefore many Dynamics AX customers are upgrading to Dynamics 365 Enterprise, or considering it.  

I began my career (in the stone age, it seems) implementing business software solutions that were written for a DOS environment.  There really was no such thing as ERP (enterprise resource planning) software. PC’s had just come into the market, making it feasible for many small to mid-size and even larger companies to transition to computerization for the first time. The value computerization brought to their businesses was unprecedented. Soon the Windows operating system was introduced, which required DOS based ERP software solutions to make significant changes to their products. And of course, following that, businesses had to start asking themselves some big questions.

Looking back, I must say it surprised me how long it took some of these businesses to upgrade. Keep in mind, this was at a time before cell phones and smart TV’s, when the theory of software upgrades wasn’t as widely understood and accepted as it is today. So, understandably, businesses were reluctant. After all, everything was working fine. Why fix something if it isn’t broken? They were operating much more efficiently than they had prior to computerizing, and it hadn’t been that long since they’d made a significant investment in implementing their ERP solution, so they weren’t anxious to make another investment to upgrade, especially so quickly. Soon though, new PC’s would no longer run the DOS operating system, putting businesses who hadn’t upgraded in a real bind when hardware failures occurred. Their operations, now reliant on automation, were suddenly at risk, making the software upgrade not only a requirement, but in some cases a pressing necessity.

Do you know the old adage, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”? It’s certainly true in relation to software upgrades. So really, the big question is not “To upgrade or not?”, it is “When is the most advantageous time to upgrade?" I would always recommend the upgrade of an ERP solution before it becomes unsupported by the provider. The risk of doing otherwise is just not worth it.

Waiting too long is not the only time a software upgrade can put your business at risk--upgrading too soon can, too. No matter how hard software providers try, and they all do, it is impossible to fully test a product until it is released to the market and utilized in multiple environments by multiple users. So when a new product or upgrade is released, it will contain software bugs, or as developers prefer to call them, “undocumented features." These issues can introduce risk to your business, and rectifying them will require intervention and time, which means further investment. Therefore, unless there is a pressing business requirement that can only be addressed through newly released software, it is probably better to wait and not be in the first round of adopters.

Deciding the best time to upgrade between the range of too soon and too late can only be done on a business by business basis. Also, there are many things to consider, including but not limited to, timing, resource availability, potential gains to the business by way of efficiencies, increased visibility, and increased customer service. So, is it time for your business to upgrade? Contact us! Our friendly team would welcome an opportunity to assist you in making that determination.

Clients First is a Microsoft Gold ERP Partner and Cloud Service Provider (CSP), with a team of tenured specialists with core competencies in the implementation and support of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and its base code: Dynamics AX. In fact, we have over 180 years combined experience in Dynamics AX.  To explore all the capabilities of Dynamics 365 and find out how this business solution can help your manufacturing, supply chain, or MRO organization achieve its full potential, reach out to us, and get more information on how Dynamics 365 Enterprise can transform your business.  

Dynamics 365 Enterprise for Operations and Finance  (the new Dynamics AX) is a true Enterprise ERP solution with a global presence.   It is multi-company, multi-language, and can support multiple lines of business and operations with one software code-set. 

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