For many companies, the enterprise resource planning system is a crucial part of their business. However, these systems do age over time. As time goes by, what was once efficient and productive can now seem cumbersome and ineffective. In addition, while it may still work, it's unlikely that it's taking advantage of a lot of new features that have developed on more recent releases of ERP software. This can especially be the case if the organizations in question are still using Microsoft Navison. Now, this doesn't mean that companies should have to switch to something completely different. Sometimes, the best solution is to simply upgrade the platform outright to a newer version, like the recently released Dynamics NAV 2015.

When it's time
Of course, knowing when to upgrade to new ERP can be tricky to gauge. It can also be difficult to make a case for switching out a system that employees are comfortable with and replacing it with something that may seem foreign to them, even if it's just the newest version of the same system. Still, ERP Focus suggests that companies take into consideration some basic ideas regarding when they should start looking into upgrading. For one, most software has limited useful lives, and at the end of this period of time, vendors will no longer support them. Businesses using old unsupported programs will be unable to fix them when something goes wrong.

Another reason to start research on switching can come from being extremely behind on the technological curve. On the most basic level, manufacturing standards are constantly changing, from new advances and techniques to altered regulations that result in unique ways of doing business. ERP software may not always be up to speed on these developments.

Recent technological improvements to ERP have also made an impact in making manufacturers competitive, meaning that older software may be inadequate. For example, with the cloud, software is constantly updated without needing the support of IT and data is safe and secure in the event of a power outage or other incident. Failing to integrate with other software such as customer relationship management and other tools can also be a good reason.

Being ready
At the same time, simply needing to upgrade to Dynamics NAV 2015 isn't enough. As was likely the case when the current ERP software was installed, there is a lot of preparation that needs to happen in order to enable a smooth transition, according to Panorama Consulting. The first thing that has to be asked prior to upgrading is whether the company will benefit from the change. As said, there may be plenty of new features for companies to work with, but the financial and operational costs can be a major factor.

The second factor that determines readiness for an ERP upgrade is being able to absorb it in full, including the time it takes to implement the software. This leads into the final and most important reason to upgrade: An effective project strategy is in place. With these reasons, a company can and should upgrade its ERP solution.

Learn how to define your ERP strategy by downloading the white paper entitled "ERP in Manufacturing: Defining the ERP Strategy" from the DMS website today.