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3 Things to Consider When Upgrading From Epicor 905 to E10

3 Things to Consider When Upgrading From Epicor 905 to E10

People, Infrastructure, and Scope in an Epicor 905 Migration

A customer on the front end of an upgrade from Epicor 905 to E10 asked me for advice on ERP upgrade planning. I’ve long reflected on some of the keys to a successful Epicor 905 upgrade to E10—the lessons learned by decades of experience, and collected across countless end-of-project reviews. In light of wins and losses of the past, I’ve put together some thoughts on successfully upgrading an ERP system.

Working with consultants often helps in transitioning from a legacy ERP and gaining traction with the new version. This is especially the case if your business intends to leverage the upgrade as an opportunity to perform process changes, implement additional modules, or take advantage of new functionality. All of these things involve risk, largely due to the complexity of data amassed in the process. But if you consider your people, your infrastructure, and your scope, then an upgrade will be the best decision you can make for your future.

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Your People & Your Partners

Upgrading your ERP system is all about the people.

  • The people your upgrade will support
  • The people who will help make your application meet your goals

The Philosophy Behind Your People

Methodology: You want to work with folks who have a process for taking your company through the steps, so ’tis not a hodgepodge of random activity.

 

Expertise: I’d recommend you work with a consultancy rather than an independent “jack of all trades” — generalists are good for what they do, but I find the overall solution is superior when delivered by a coordinated team of folks. Look for specialization: Operations, Finance, Tools, Installation, etc.

 

Knowledge: This is where you want some good generalist know-how accessible to you when needed. For example, if you’re upgrading Epicor from 905 to E10, you’ll want someone around who has knowledge about 905 and expertise about upgrading to E10. This is especially helpful for tools considerations and code conversion, but not really important otherwise. The data from 905 to 10 is generally the same, and the functionality is also quite similar. If you have ABL code that you need to convert, you’ll want to partner with a team that has these skills.

 

Experience: This is key. In an Epicor upgrade, for example, you need folks who are strong in E10 and can recommend how the system will best run in 10, so that your transition is smooth and effective.

The Technical Nature of an ERP Upgrade

These considerations apply to any ERP, but I’m going to walk you through this with my Epicor consulting experience coloring the waters. In general, the move from Epicor 905 to 10 is technical in nature, with the change of the database and business logic layers from Progress to .net & SQL Server. Here’s a quick summary of some of the major changes and their implications:

 

Core Modules: These are very similar from 905 to 10 with some new sub-modules and lots of new bells and whistles. You’ll find many opportunities for changes in configuration, and some of these can create unexpected behaviors, so test carefully.

 

Updatable BAQs & Dashboards: These generally come over uneventfully, with a few tweaks. If they contain ABL code, some rewrites are required.

 

Embedded Customizations: These also generally come over uneventfully, with a few tweaks.

 

BPMs: Anything with Progress 4GL ABL code will need to be rewritten.

 

Configurators: Similar to BPMs, anything with Progress 4GL ABL code will need to be rewritten.

 

SSRS / Crystal Reports: 905 primarily uses Crystal Reports. In 10, these have all been converted to SSRS. If you have a lot of custom Crystal Reports, you’ll want to consider whether to rebuild these in 10 or deploy Crystal in the E10 environment.

At all levels, you have to assess the ERP system and the technology that supports it. When you’re upgrading a legacy ERP, should you also upgrade your servers? Will your system require new data management solutions like cloud-based disaster and recovery services? Are you facing new cybersecurity and compliance decisions?

 

Technical Considerations

Upgrading an ERP system demands skillful handling of data. This includes both the mind and soul of the ERP: the strength and spirit of the application. With on-premise, hosted, and SaaS solutions now available as ERP infrastructure options, your upgrade should include technology assessments both in and out of the software.

Upgrade vs. Reimplementation

Think about whether you want your ERP upgrade to be a straight, utility-driven upgrade from the legacy to the current version or a reimplementation. We’ve worked with customers who have gone either way.  We’ve found that reimplementation efforts tend to take longer and cost more, but leave you with a much cleaner data foundation.

A Data-Driven Epicor 905 Upgrade

If you’re trying to pull off some configuration/business process changes as part of the upgrade, this is easier to do as part of a reimplementation. If running Epicor and you’re looking to do the straight, utility-driven upgrade, I would recommend partnering with Epicor specifically to do the database conversion/upgrade. They have proprietary tool (“Cirrus”) that performs this upgrade, and it’s really the best way to do this. In the past, with early versions of 10, the upgrade toolset was part of the Admin Console, and partners like us performed the upgrade. Prior to the upgrade, we also had to request data scrubbing programs to run in 905 prior to the actual upgrade. These helped prepare the data for the 905 > 10 conversion.

Over the course of the last few years, Epicor developed the Cirrus toolset that performs the database uplift. This incorporates all that scrubbing and referential integrity stuff to successfully migrate the DB. These capabilities are not built into the admin console upgrade capabilities, so my understanding is that a better-quality uplift is achieved by working though Cirrus. As a customer, I would be working through Epicor to get the DB upgrading it, and not relying on the admin console. In reviewing the feedback from the Epicor user community, I think that the general consensus would be to leverage Cirrus when possible.

The Project Scope: Budgets & Ongoing Planning

Begin with your history. How to handle your historical data is unique to your project, and you might want to bring in a consultant to help you make decisions around the complexities. There are a number of additional budgetary/planning considerations that should be made at the onset of an upgrade project. Here are several that we normally work though with our customers:

  • Project Management: Do you have an on-site PM who will handle more of the PM duties, or do you want the partner to assume those?
  • Server Install/Configuration/Tuning: Who do you have for technical staff to assist with server-side activities, or do you want the partner to assume those?
  • ABL Code Conversion: Who do you have for development staff that can assist with code conversion, or do you want the partner to assume those?
  • Cirrus Upgrade: Are we working through Epicor to do the Cirrus upgrade? If doing a Cirrus upgrade, you should plan for that cost.
  • Delta Education: Do you want to self-educate or have your partner provide ERP training and support?
  • On-site Consultation: Do you want to have consultants on-site to assist, or do you want to have the partner working remotely and on-site on an as-needed basis?
  • Milestone Prep: Do you have resources that can perform the prep activities, or do you want the partner to assist?
  • Milestone Verification Events: Do you want to conduct CRP and UAT events on your own?
  • Gap Closure: Do you want assistance with gap closure, or do you want to spearhead this?
  • Customization/Tools: Do you have an internal resource to perform any new tools work (customizations, BPMs, reports, etc) that would be part up the upgrade project?
  • Data Conversion/DMT Assistance: Do you have a data-savvy resource who can own DMT & data questions and query the data out of the existing system, manipulate it to load into Epicor, and run the DMT tool to load?
  • On-site Support at Cutover: Do you want on-site support at cutover?
  • First Month-End: Do you need on-site finance support for the first month-end after cutting over, or do you have strong Epicor-savvy internal financial resources?

Upgrading an ERP system can be challenging. It’s a highly rewarding endeavor, and the outcome justifies the move. Good luck on your journey, and reach out to our experts with any questions you have along the way! 

 

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Epicor Part & MOM Settings: Learning By Example

Epicor Part & MOM Settings: Learning By Example

Epicor Cover: Lessons From the Trenches

Sometimes the best way to understand the inner workings of an ERP system is to review examples of its activities and to trace them back to the underlying setup that generated the activities themselves. In the Epicor ERP context, I’ve encountered challenges in helping users understand the impact of some core part settings. Like many ERP systems, Epicor’s part master file is fundamental in governing how these parts flow through the ERP application. There are a handful of “big little checkboxes” that radically change the system’s behavior, and understanding these system settings is a core building block to successfully configuring your Epicor ERP system.

To that end, I’ve put together a few examples that help demonstrate Epicor part and Epicor MOM setup, and their ramifications on Epicor job structure. In fact, Epicor job MOMs are highly dependent on the upstream settings, and without this understanding, the structure of an Epicor job MOM can be confusing. Such principles as Epicor job materials, make-direct materials, and job subassemblies are all traced back to a few small settings. Let’s look at some examples and see how they play out.

The Difference is in the Settings

  • Fundamental decisions create a stable core
  • Successful configurations come from experience
  • Subtle variations significantly alter outcomes
Enterprise Resource Planning Project Team Meeting

In my examples, I utilize Epicor’s training database.

I begin with a few existing parts, and make small modifications to demonstrate the different scenarios.

Let’s begin with part DSS-1000.

This part came directly from the Epicor training database. The key material, part DSS-1010, was also pre-defined. Part DSS-1000 occupied material sequence 10 of parent part DSS-1000. This serves as the baseline for subsequent scenarios.

From here, I copied parts DSS-1000 and DSS-1010 multiple times and made subtle variations.

The following component materials are used in the subsequent scenarios:

  • DSS-1010: Directly from the training database. Stocked MFG Part (i.e: not Non-Stock).
  • DSS-1010NS: MFG, Non-Stock: Used for Make-Direct and Subassembly examples.
  • DSS-1010NSPB: MFG, Non-Stock Phantom BOM Part. 

The following higher-level assemblies are used in the subsequent scenarios:

  • DSS-1000: Mtl Seq 10 (DSS-1010) is a stocked material.
  • DSS-1000MDM: Mtl Seq 10 (DSS-1010NS) is a Make-Direct material.
  • DSS-1000SUB: Mtl Seq 10 (DSS-1010NS) is a Job Subassembly.
  • DSS-1000PBOM: Mtl Seq 10 (DSS-1010NSPB) is a Phantom Assembly.

Interaction between Part Master, the Engineering Workbench, and the Epicor Job

It is fundamental to understand that the part master settings affect the default settings in the Epicor Engineering Workbench and that both the Engineering Workbench and the part master affect the final job MOM. The default behavior can be described as follows:

  • Non-Stock > Pull as Assembly > Job Subassembly
  • Not Non-Stock > Not Pull as Assembly > Job Material (Issued from Stock)

Default Behavior: Stocked Part from Part Master to Job MOM

Let’s explore Epicor’s default behavior in handling a Stocked Material. In this example, the following parameters exist:

  • Part DSS-1010 is a stocked part.
  • Part DSS-1010 is a not flagged Pull as assembly material on Part DSS-1000, material sequence 10.

The outcome: Material sequence 10, part DSS-1010, shows up on the job as a material that is issued from stock (not Make-Direct).

Epicor Material Sequence

Default Behavior: Non-Stocked Part from Part Master to Job MOM

Let’s explore Epicor’s default behavior in handling a Non-Stocked material. In this example, the following parameters exist:

  • Part DSS-1010NS is a Non-Stocked part.
  • By default, Part DSS-1010NS is flagged Pull as Assembly on Part DSS-1000, material sequence 10.

The outcome: Part DSS-1010NS shows up on the Job as a Subassembly. Material Sequence 10 no longer exists on the Epicor job bill of materials.

Epicor Job Bill of Materials

Override: Processing Non-Stock Part as a Make-Direct Job Material

By default, a Non-Stock Material would be processed as a Subassembly (Pull as Assembly). But this behavior can be overridden, in the Epicor Engineering Workbench, resulting in different downstream behaviors. Unchecking the Pull as Assembly flag for a Non-Stock material will cause the material on the job to be supplied in a Make-Direct manner: Non-Stock > Not Pull as Assembly > Make-Direct Material

Let’s explore Epicor’s behavior in handling a Non-Stocked material. In this example, the following parameters exist:

  • Part DSS-1010NS is a Non-Stocked part.
  • Part DSS-1010NS is not flagged Pull as assembly material on Part DSS-1000MDM, material sequence 10. We have overridden the default and unchecked the flagged Pull as assembly flag.

Outcome: Part DSS-1010NS shows up on the Job as a Make-Direct Material on the Job.

Epicor Parameters

 

As you can see, the decisions you make when handling Epicor’s part settings can significantly impact the Epicor jobs created to manufacture them. Hopefully these examples have assisted in your understanding of the factors that affect Epicor’s job bill of materials.

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