Should your company upgrade its ERP (enterprise resource planning) system to the latest and greatest in the form of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central? Before you chew on that, let’s go over a few fundamentals that make Business Central so awesome. As a set of applications that have been revolutionizing how many are doing business, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is designed to integrate business processes that allow quick decision-making and customer engagement in real time – backed by legitimate data. Business Central covers every element of a business process from sales, marketing and service to operations and finance, but is available only through Microsoft partner programs.
In a nutshell, the five major benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central encompass:
- Exceptional autonomy and flexibility
- Built-in intelligent business apps
- Direct connection with decision-makers
- Focus on a specific industry
- Better compliance
Still, technology is always evolving, and it’s sometimes not feasible for a company to upgrade. While some folks absolutely must have the latest iPhone or Ultra HD Blu-ray player, there are still plenty of people who cannot justify upgrading to a new phone every time a new one hits the market or replacing their optical disc player whenever there’s a format change. Of course, these are just examples, but you get the point.
So, when should you be looking to upgrade your company’s ERP? The following are criteria suggestions when considering the upgrade to Dynamics 365 Business Central:
1. Can Your Current ERP Release Keep Up?
If you already have an ERP system in place and are running an older version of it, chances are good that it’s no longer able to keep up with your organization’s evolving needs. The hard truth is this: The capabilities gap between older versions of ERP designs and current demands already poses a problem that many companies simply can’t ignore; your ERP solution should adequately serve your entire enterprise – and scale as your company continues to grow and evolve. In considering these sentiments, ask yourself: What can we currently do with our ERP software? What processes are supported or not supported by our current system?
2. What is Your End Game with Regard to Requirements?
What we’re referring to here is your desired end goals…what your intentions are after the upgrade is completed, and what types of business process improvements you’d expect to see. We suggest discussing with your financial managers what you want to accomplish with the new system; which processes are you attempting to streamline? Are there any steps in your current system you want to eliminate? The ultimate success here would be to simplify and automate the work while removing unnecessary or repetitive processes.
3. Do You Have Any Gaps to Fill In?
There are gaps that your current ERP solution may not offer, and an upgrade is a great way to fill them in. It’s here that you should evaluate how an upgrade would fit your specific requirements, and how filling the aforementioned gaps would be affected by customizations, third-party software or other avenues.
4. Have You Considered the Staffing Factor?
There will be necessary staff to perform the upgrade (in addition to training and ongoing support), so you need to prepare for how to handle it. Take into consideration maintenance for day-to-day operations in addition to any support required to keep your ERP software and infrastructure up and running.
5. What is the TCO Going to Look Like?
How big of an investment is a new ERP solution? To find out, you need to look at the system’s total cost of ownership (TCO), which is defined as the cumulative cost of implementing, maintaining and upgrading a system throughout its lifetime in an organization. For ERP systems, this encompasses planning and selection, licensing cost, infrastructure cost, implementation cost, post go-live support and maintenance/upgrades.
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