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How to Respect Data Privacy in 2023

How to Respect Data Privacy in 2023

Data Privacy Week is an annual expanded effort from Data Privacy Day — taking place from January 22 – 28, 2023. The goal of Data Privacy Week is to spread awareness about online privacy among individuals and organizations. The goal is twofold: to help citizens understand that they have the power to manage their data and to help organizations understand why it is important that they respect their users’ data.

As a Data Privacy Week Champion, EstesGroup recognizes and supports the principle that all organizations share the responsibility of being conscientious stewards of personal information.

Data Privacy Week Champion

Data Privacy in 2023: The Story of You that You Wish to Tell

All of your online activity generates a trail of data. Websites, apps, and services collect data on your behaviors, interests, and purchases. Sometimes, this includes personal data, like your Social Security and driver’s license numbers. It can even include data about your physical self, like health data – think about how a smartwatch counts and records how many steps you take. If you are a company owner, you hold the responsibility of protecting your employees and customers by keeping your business data private with the help of cybersecurity solutions that follow compliance regulations.

While it’s true that you cannot control how each byte of data about you and your family is shared and processed, you are not helpless! In many cases, you can control how you share your data with a few simple steps. Remember, your data is precious, and you deserve to be selective about who you share it with!

How Businesses Can Respect Data Privacy

Respecting the privacy of your customers, staff, and all other stakeholders is critical for inspiring trust and enhancing reputation. According to the Pew Research Center, 79% of U.S. adults report being concerned about the way their data is being used by companies. By being open about how you use data and respecting privacy, you can stand out from your competition.

Be transparent about how you collect, use, and share consumers’ personal information. Think about how the consumer may expect their data to be used. Design settings to protect their information by default. Communicate clearly and concisely to the public what privacy means to your organization, as well as the steps you take to achieve and maintain privacy.

About Data Privacy Week

Data Privacy Week began as Data Privacy Day in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Data Protection Day commemorates the Jan. 28, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. NCA, the nation’s leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness, leads the effort in North America each year.

About the National Cybersecurity Alliance

The National Cybersecurity Alliance is a non-profit organization on a mission to create a more secure, interconnected world. We advocate for the safe use of all technology and educate everyone on how best to protect ourselves, our families, and our organizations from cybercrime. We create strong partnerships between governments and corporations to amplify our message and to foster a greater “digital” good.

Learn how a private or hybrid cloud strategy can help your business with data privacy management today. Please fill out the form below to schedule a free consultation with our ERP, IT or Cloud Services experts, and we’ll do all we can to help your business run better!

Data Center Strategy: How To Cloud Up For Uptime

Data Center Strategy: How To Cloud Up For Uptime

A Cloud is a Data Center and a Data Center is a Cloud?

Cloud applications ultimately sit upon the foundation of a server stack. You can view a cloud-based server as someone else’s computer, and picture these servers housed in a data center, which is their most likely location.

A data center can be simply described as a specified space within a building designed to securely house computing resources.
Data Center Considerations

Servers

Power

Communication

A large data center normally involves an extensive open area, which is divided into racks and cages, to hold the servers themselves, as well as the power and communication connections used to link each individual server with the rest of the data center network. This network would reside in a building with sufficient architecture to allow for rapid data communication, and similarly high-performing connections to the outside world.

The building itself is normally a large and highly secure edifice, constructed from reinforced building materials, as to prevent physical compromise. It is often located on a campus that is itself physically guarded with high fences and rigid gates.

Server

PHYSICAL SECURITY 

DATA CENTER HARDWARE

Cloud Security

CLOUD-BASED SECURITY

DATA CENTER STRATEGY

The Servers Themselves: What Is In Your Data Center?

Inside the building (the data center) exists a complex cooling and ventilation system, to prevent the heat-inducing computing devices from overheating. The campus is supported by redundant power systems, to allow the network to run, even if the main power grid experiences interruption or shutdown. The inner workings of the data center are designed to prevent downtime, but the materials used in construction can vary. Consider a pencil made from wood vs. a pencil made from plastic. Consider further a pencil manufactured from metal built to protect a thin and fragile graphite fragment. 

The ways in which end users can attain access to the resources in a data center can vary due to the fact that cloud provisioning can occur in many layers.

Option A: Cloud Provider = Data Center

Sometimes the cloud provider is itself the data center. Most often this is the case when you want to use server space from a data center, or else wish to collocate your hardware in a data center. For instance, as a customer, you might procure new hardware and move it to one of US Signal’s data centers in a colocation arrangement. This allows you to benefit from US Signal’s physical security, network redundancy, high-speed fiber network, and peering relationships, to allow for a broad array of high-speed communications. 

Option B: Cloud Provider = Data Center Management Firm

Sometimes the cloud provider is an organization that manages the allocation and management of cloud resources for you — they serve as an intermediary between the end customer and the data center. For instance, EstesGroup partners with US Signal. We help customers choose the right server resources in support of the application deployment and management services that we provide for ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) customers.

Moreover, not all data centers are created equal. Data centers differ in countless ways, including (but not limited to) availability, operating standards, physical security, network connectivity, data redundancy, and power grid resiliency. Most often, larger providers of cloud infrastructure actually provide a network of tightly interconnected data centers, such that you’re not just recruiting a soldier — you’re drafting an entire army. 

As such, when choosing a cloud provider, understanding the underlying data centers in use is as important as understanding the service providers themselves. That said, what are some of the questions that you should ask your provider when selecting a data center? 

Is the provider hosting out of a single data center or does the provider have data center redundancy?

Geo-diverse data centers are of great importance when it relates to overall risk of downtime. Diversely-located data centers provide inherent redundancy, especially beneficial when it comes to backup and disaster recovery.

But what defines diverse? One important consideration relates to the locations of data centers relative to America’s national power grid infrastructure. Look for a provider that will store your primary site and disaster recovery site on separate power grids.

This will bolster you from the potentially of an outage to one of the individual grid locations. Think of the continental divide. On separate sides of the divide, water flows in one of two directions. When it comes to national power grids, support comes from different hubs. Look for a provider who has redundant locations on the other side of the divide to protect you in the event of a major power outage.

Are they based on a proprietary data center, collocated, or leveraging the state-of-the art technology of a leading data center? 

A provider of hosting services may choose to store their data in one of many places. They may choose to leverage a world-class data center architecture like US Signal’s. Conversely, they may choose to collocate hardware that they already own in a data center. Or they may choose, like many managed services providers do, to leverage a proprietary data center, most often located in their home office. 

Colocation is not uncommon among first steps in the cloud. If you own hardware already, and would like to leverage a world-class data center, colocation is a logical option. But for cloud providers, owning hardware becomes a losing war of attrition. Hardware doesn’t stay current, and unless its being procured in large quantities, it’s expensive. These costs often get passed along to the customer. Worse still, it encourages providers to skimp on redundancy, making their offerings less scalable and less robust in the event of disaster events. 

Proprietary data centers add several layers of concern to the colocation option. In addition to the hardware ownership challenges, the provider is not responsible for all the infrastructure responsibilities that come with data center administration, such as redundant power, cooling, physical security, and network connectivity.

Moreover, proprietary data centers often lack the geo-diversity that comes with a larger provider. Beyond infrastructure, security is a monumental responsibility for a data center provider, and many smaller providers struggle to keep up with evolving threats. In fact, Estes recently onboarded a customer who came to us due to their Managed Service Provider’s propriety data center getting hacked and ransomed. 

Is the cloud provider hosting out of a public cloud data center? 

Public cloud environments operate in multi-tenant configurations where customers contend with one another for resources. Resource contention means that when one customer’s resource consumption spikes, the performance experienced by the other customers in the shared tenant will likely suffer. Moreover, many multi-tenant environments lack the firewall isolation present in private cloud infrastructures, which increases security concerns. Isolated environments are generally safer environments. 

Is the cloud provider proactively compliant?

Compliance is more than the adherence to accounting standards — it is a means to guarantee that your provider is performing the necessary due diligence in order to ensure the business practices of an organization do not create vulnerabilities that can compromise the security and reliability assertions of the provider. What compliance and auditing standards does your cloud provider adhere to?

Is your cloud provider compliant according to their own hardware vendor’s standards?

Hardware providers, such as Cisco, for instance, offer auditing services, to ensure their hardware is being reliably deployed. Ensure that your provider adheres to their vendor’s standards. How about penetration testing? Is your provider performing external penetration testing to ensure PCI security compliance? In terms of industry standard compliance frameworks, such as HIPAA, PCI/DCC, and SOC I and SOC II, ensure that your provider is being routinely audited. Leveraging industry standards through compliance regulation best practices can go a long way to make sure they are not letting their guards down. 

What kind of campus connectivity is offered between your data centers and the outside world?

Low national latency is of utmost importance from a customer perspective. Efficient data transfer between the data centers themselves and from a given data center to the outside world is fundamental to a cloud customer. Achieving transactional efficiency is achieved in multiple ways.

For a network to be efficient, the data itself must take as few “hops” from one network to another. This is best achieved through tight partnerships between the data center and both the national and regional ISPs that service individual organizations.

Within the data center network, an efficient infrastructure is helpful. US Signal, for instance, has a 14K mile network fiber backbone connecting its data centers and connecting them to regional transfer stations. This allows US Signal to support 3 ms latency between its 9 data centers, and to physically connect with over 90 national ISPs. This results in an extremely low national latency.

What kinds of backup and disaster recovery solutions can be bundled with your cloud solutions?

Fundamental to a cloud deployment is the ability to provide redundancy in the event of a disaster. Disaster recovery is necessary to sustaining an environment, whether on premise or in the cloud. But a disaster recovery solution must adhere to rigorous standards of its own if it is to be effective. Physical separation between a primary and secondary sight is one such baseline need. Additionally, the disaster recovery solution needs to be sufficiently air-gapped, in order to hit your desired RPO and RTO targets, while avoiding potential cross-contamination between platforms due to an event of hacking, viruses, or ransomware.

What kinds of uptime and reliability guarantees are offered by your data center?

All of the above aspects of a data center architecture should ultimately result in greater uptime for the cloud consumer. The major public data center providers are notorious for significant outages, and this has deleterious effects on customers of these services. Similarly, smaller providers may lack the infrastructure that can support rigorous uptime standards. When choosing a provider, make sure to understand the resiliency and reliable uptime of the supporting platform. EstesGroup can offer a 100% uptime SLA when hosted in our cloud with recovery times not achievable by the public cloud providers.

Uptime has a planned/unplanned component that must also be considered. Many larger cloud providers do not give advanced warning when instances will be shut down for upgrades, which can be extremely disruptive for consumers, and result in a loss of control that conflicts with daily business initiatives. Ensure that planned downtime is a service that is communicated and understood before it happens. 

How scalable is the overall platform?

Scalability has to do with flexibility and speed. How flexible can the resources of an individual virtual machine (VM) be tweaked and how quickly can these changes be made. Ideally, your cloud provider provides dynamic resource pool provisioning — this allows for dynamic allocation of computing resources when and where they are needed.

Some provider environments support “auto-scaling,” which can dynamically create and terminate instances, but they may not allow for dynamic resource changes to an existing instance. In these cases, if a customer wishes to augment resources of any instance, it must be terminated and rebuilt using the desired instance options provided by other providers. This can be problematic. Additionally, provisioning, whether to a new VM or an existing one, should be quick, and not require a long lead time to complete. Ensure that your cloud provider specifies the lapsed time required to provision and re-provision resources.

What are the data movement costs?

The costs associated with the movement of data can significantly impact your total cloud costs. These are normally applied as a toll fee that accumulates based on the amount of data that moves over a given time. So these costs can be unpredictable. But what kinds of data movements occur?

  • Data ingress: data moving into the storage location, as it is being uploaded.
  • Data egress: data out of the storage location, as it is being downloaded. 

Data centers rarely charge for ingress movement — they like the movement of data into their network. But many will charge for data egress. This means that if you want your data back, they may charge you for it.

Sometimes these fees even occur when data is moving within the provider’s network, between regions and instances. If you’re looking for a cloud provider, check the fine print to determine whether egress fees are applied, and estimate your data movement, to understand your total cost. EstesGroup gives you symmetrical internet data transfer with no egress charges, so your data movement does not result in additional charges. This means that your cloud costs are predictable.

Does the cloud provider offer robust support?

Downtime can come from one of many situations. Your ISP could experience an outage, and may need to fail over to your secondary provider.  Or you may encounter an email phishing scam resulting in a local malware attack.  Or you may experience an outage, due to a regional power grid issue. In these extenuating circumstances, you may find yourself in need of contacting your cloud provider in a hurry.

As such, you’ll want a provider that offers robust pre-sales and post-sales support that is available 24/7/365. Many providers offer high-level support only if you subscribe to an additional support plan, which is an additional monthly cost. Wait times are also an issue — you may have a support plan, but the support may be slow and cumbersome. Look for a cloud provider that will guarantee an engineer in less than 60 seconds, 24/7/365.

Are you ready for a tour of one of the best data centers in the world? Meet with the EstesCloud team to get the right cloud strategy for your business.

The Distribution Industry Heads to Texas

The Distribution Industry Heads to Texas

On August 29th, EstesGroup heads to Texas for one of the most important events in the distribution industry. Visit us in booths 6 and 7 at P21WWUG CONNECT 2022 in San Antonio August 29th – August 31st! We are proud to be the Platinum Sponsor for this year’s show!

What is P21WWUG CONNECT?

Organized by the Prophet 21 World Wide Users Group (P21WWUG), CONNECT is an annual gathering of Epicor Prophet 21 users from across the globe. Members of the distribution community head to exciting cities (i.e. Atlanta ’21 or San Antonio ’22) to meet, collaborate, and learn more about the Prophet 21 application. Attendees interact and learn from other members of the P21WWUG community, from Epicor consultants and product managers, and from third-party solution providers, like DCKAP, our partner for a pre-show charity walk that will benefit children in need. With multiple days of educational sessions, the event offers excellent opportunities for Prophet 21 users to expand their use of the Epicor P21 application, and better leverage P21 ERP to serve the needs of their organizations.

Distribution Industry Texas Cloud

With multiple days of educational sessions, the event offers excellent opportunities for Prophet 21 users to expand their use of the Epicor P21 application, and better leverage P21 ERP to serve the needs of their organizations. Visit us at CONNECT booths 6 and 7 to learn more about application hosting, cloud migrations, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), IT support and services for companies in the distribution industry, application optimization through partnership with an Epicor Prophet 21 expert, and more.

Who is P21WWUG CONNECT for?

The P21WWUG CONNECT conference is designed to address the needs of a broad base of the P21 community. Attendees of the event range from business owners and executives to managers and functional specialists, in areas such as purchasing, accounting, sales, inventory and warehouse management. This event helps both the members of the P21 community that use the data from the P21 application to make executive decisions, and the folks in the trenches, using the P21 application to make their companies function.

Who will I meet at P21WWUG CONNECT?

Your peers and colleagues, to begin with. End users, power users, local experts, IT admins — individuals who’ve worked with the Epicor P21 system for years and have learned its inner workings, and have solved countless problems in and through its use. They bring their collective knowledge to the P21WWUG CONNECT event, to share their hard-earned lessons with others. Beyond the user community, an extensive vendor area allows you to interact with providers of integrated solutions that enable companies to extend their P21 applications by bringing it into contact with customer and suppliers, and to automate processes internally, increasing efficiency and effectiveness.

What will I learn from the Prophet 21 World Wide Users Group?

It takes a lot to make your business succeed. To address your needs, P21WWUG CONNECT offers a range of networking opportunities, keynote speakers, educational sessions, roundtable discussions, and workshops, that address your current challenges and the challenges of the future. 

That said, what you learn depends on what you’re looking for. 

Maybe you are an inventory control manager, already well-versed in the P21 application, but in search of more information about inventory management, stocking levels, cycle counting, or units of measure. 

Or you could be a power user, responsible for data management and updates, and wish to better understand using excel in conjunction with P21, improving your skills in reports, queries, financial statements, data extraction, SSRS or Crystal Reports. 

You might be a developer, looking to learn more about Dynachange, business rules, data streams or business process automation. You might be here trying to extend your P21 ecosystem, interesting in talking with P21 third-party vendors, or attending sessions to learn more about shipping integrations, credit card processing, or ACH integrations. 

Or you might be an uber-techie, concerned with database administration cloud capabilities, cybersecurity or middleware APIs. Many users simply come trying to better understand P21’s Web UI, and whether they are ready to take the leap.  

Business leaders and owners come to P21WWUG CONNECT to talk with other business leaders and better understand the current landscape.

Are you thinking of attending P21WWUG CONNECT? Are you trying to sharpen your business acumen, to make better decisions in rapidly fluctuating times? Perhaps you are trying to better understand continuous improvement in the distribution industry, or you wish to learn how other distributors are dealing with supply chain issues. Your concern might be sales strategy, or mastering the challenges of recruiting, retainment, and employee development. If you’re a business leader, CONNECT might be the place to help you use Prophet 21 ERP to take your business into the future. 

Chances are that if you have questions about the distribution industry, EstesGroup ERP and IT experts at P21WWUG CONNECT 2022 will provide the answers. The event will offer sessions, users, vendors, and experts to help you find the answers that you are looking for. Visit us at booth 6 and 7 this August!

Where and when is P21WWUG CONNECT 2022?

The Prophet 21 World Wide User Group will be hosting CONNECT 2022 from August 29th to August 31st at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa.

EstesGroup is hosting a pre-event Charity Walk with our partner DCKAP. DCKAP simplifies commerce for distributors. Get better results faster with DCKAP’s simple, yet powerful, product suite. 

Any other considerations concerning this distribution industry event?

To attend P21WWUG CONNECT, you need to be a member of the P21 World Wide User Group.  Are you a member already?  If not, check out the P21WWUG website for more info.

Cloud Server

Walk for Charity with EstesGroup and DCKAP on August 29th in San Antonio! (P.S. You don’t have to be in the distribution industry to attend.)

Walk for Charity at P21WWUG CONNECT in San Antonio

Walk for Charity at P21WWUG CONNECT in San Antonio

Technology is on the move. Chase it down at P21WWUG CONNECT in San Antonio this August. Cloud options, web client deployments, integrations, middleware installations: the road ahead is replete with opportunities and obstacles, with shortcuts and fast lanes — not to mention the occasional blind alley. 

P21WWUG CONNECT in San Antonio Charity Walk

EstesGroup is excited to be the Platinum Sponsor for the Epicor Prophet 21® event of the year! We will begin the show with a cause dear to our hearts. In the spirit of meaningful motion, DCKAP & EstesGroup teams have banded together to walk for charity at P21WWUG CONNECT in San Antonio.

Are you attending the annual P21WWUG CONNECT event?

CONNECT is a great opportunity to learn more about Epicor’s P21® application — what it can do, how it can be used and, most importantly, where it’s headed. Applications are always on the run. Events like P21WWUG CONNECT are a great opportunity to catch up and head them off at the proverbial pass.

Run Your Business With Prophet 21®, Walk for Charity with EstesGroup ERP Experts

WHO: EstesGroup, DCKAP, and YOU!

WHAT: A charity walk that will benefit the Save the Children Foundation (FREE to attend, as donations are optional, with FREE breakfast following the walk)

WHEN: August 29th from 7 AM to 10 AM (CST)

WHERE: At P21WWUG CONNECT in San Antonio at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort

WHY: Find community with ERP, technology, cloud, and commerce experts while supporting a good cause!

This is a great opportunity to clear your head, and meet some great people while helping the world, before the P21WWUG CONNECT event activities and festivities commence.

Walk With EstesGroup and DCKAP this August

Get some exercise and enjoy a good meal afterwards! We’ll meet at a designated area on the grounds prior to the P21WWUG Connect event, where we’ll start the day with coffee and refreshments before heading out on the walking path. Then, we’ll provide attendees with a hearty breakfast and grab-and-go goodies, too.

Cybersecurity Insurance Policy Pleasantries

Cybersecurity Insurance Policy Pleasantries

Do you feel like your business insurance policy will cover you in the event of a digital disaster? If you’re online, you’re at risk, and small and medium businesses that engage in e-commerce are especially vulnerable to threats. To prepare for zero-day cyber attacks and other threats, you can enroll in a cybersecurity insurance plan. Let’s have a look at how you can protect yourself against losses by using cyber security solutions and cybersecurity insurance together.

Cybersecurity Insurance Estes Cloud Security

How much cybersecurity insurance coverage do you need?

Your coverage should match your maximum level of acceptable losses. Your risk increases as your online presence grows, and each year cybercrime gets smarter, with novelty attacks arising from talented dark web lurkers. 

Hackers never rest, and security software IT companies must match their energy and their creativity. As a business owner, you face the great responsibility of securing your servers, your networks, your employees, and your customers. Even with everything protected by cybersecurity software solutions or by SECaaS (Security as a Service) management, you’ll want to ensure that your insurance coverage offers some hope if and when digital disaster strikes.

  • Know your cyber risks
  • Know your cyber threats
  • Know how much cyber insurance coverage you need
  • Know how the cyber security landscape is evolving

What is cybersecurity insurance?

Like healthcare insurance can’t prevent you from getting sick, cybersecurity insurance can’t prevent you from getting hacked. Therefore, your first step should be to buy a comprehensive cybersecurity solution. Do not trust a default security installation or setting. Zero-day attacks, often in the form of ransomware, evolve beyond the fundamental levels of cybersecurity. A basic security assessment, including a dark web scan, is a free service from a managed IT service provider like EstesGroup, and can reveal any issues that could result in a breach. Before you buy cybersecurity insurance, assess your risks and know your current threats.

Your next step is to invest in a comprehensive cybersecurity insurance plan. Understanding that insurance coverage is an aftereffect activity, like cleaning up downed trees following a thunderstorm. Breach cleanup can be as simple as credit monitoring or as complex as lawsuits and shutdowns.

Some industries regulate the level of protection you need. If you’re unsure about your industry compliance regulations, talk to EstesGroup consultants. In most cases, cyber incidents can be prevented by following the strict government guidelines that govern your industry.

In the event of a security breach, a cybersecurity insurance plan can help you redeem your losses, protect your reputation, and recover damages.

Cybersecurity insurance should include coverage for the things that matter most to your business operations, from server to remote worker:

  • System or network takeovers
  • Financial losses
  • Data breaches
  • Sensitive information theft
  • Data theft
  • Ransomware extortion payments
  • Company losses
  • Customer information breaches
  • Personal information and identity theft
  • General liability
  • Business interruption

If you store sensitive data on-premise or on a local server, you’ll need more comprehensive coverage since in-house and local systems are easily breached. Consider storing your data in a private cloud or a hybrid cloud platform for enhanced security and lower cyber insurance requirements. A good data center will offer a 100% SLA (service level agreement) and carry the risk of the losses mentioned above for you, which means you don’t have to worry about a cyberattack. The cloud provider and data center are mitigating these risks for you.

A managed service provider scans the cybersecurity insurance policies and insurance companies for you.

Cybersecurity insurance plans are a common loss for companies because business owners often overspend, thinking more money invested means lower risk. Don’t get tricked by the nefarious ways of fly-by-night cybersecurity insurance agents. EstesGroup is here to help you navigate relationships with cybersecurity professionals. Some of the experts you need to plan your cybersecurity policies and protocols are in-house at EstesGroup. And when it comes to things like cybersecurity insurance, the Estes team can serve as your liaison so that you get the best rates, the best services, and the best future for your business.

Is your business safe?

If you have a level of cybersecurity insurance that falls in your comfort zone, and if you have security services in place that will indeed protect your data in an attempted breach, then you will operate as a trusted business in the digital world. If you’ve suffered losses to your business or to your reputation because of a security breach, please reach out to us. Sometimes even the best solutions fail, and our managed IT services team can help you recover from disaster and surface vulnerabilities as they develop in your business.

How much does insurance cost your business every year? 2022 cybersecurity insurance rates are skyrocketing as the digital landscape is becoming more dangerous for American businesses. Even small businesses can benefit from liability coverage. Let’s begin a conversation about how digital transformation can help secure your business. We even protect the insurance firms!

Doctor Who Regeneration for Digital Transformation

Doctor Who Regeneration for Digital Transformation

Regeneration as a Metaphor for Digital Transformation

As a Canadian living in the American diaspora, I’ve had fun, at times, playing with my adopted country’s misconceptions of my homeland. I once convinced a room full of Texans that I had a pet wolf back home, à la Jon Snow, and that I culled dinner from the nearby caribou herds with a hand spear. Easy pickings, they were — the Texans, not the caribou.

But as a Canadian, I’ve also fielded my share of awkward questions, most often in relation to my country of origin and its relationship with its ancestral United Kingdom. To summarize: no — we don’t send tax dollars to the queen anymore. And no — I couldn’t give a rip about Harry and Meghan. But when it comes to contextualizing Canada’s relationship with the UK, I often find myself quoting Robert Frost, who was himself quoting an Englishman, when he said, “Canada ripened off the tree — you fell off green!”

Digital Transformation ERP System Upgrades

Not to get too mired in post-modern discussions on post-colonialism, I will admit that I’ve long held onto my commonwealth membership card over the years, pulling it out whenever it was useful. One such case was the matter of Doctor Who. As part of my cultural inheritance, I was rather fond of that man of manners and madness. As a child, I remember wanting a characteristic Doctor Who scarf for my birthday almost as much as that red Michael Jackson leather jacket that was also popular at the time — the one with all the zippers… ah… the 80s…

ERP System Time Travelers

So when I heard that the latest rendition of the “The Doctor” was on the precipice of a regeneration into a new incarnation, it seemed fitting that my mind would wander into the dimension of digital transformation, and pluck a few parallels where they hung out in front of me. For all you time-travelers out there, the EstesGroup has helped countless companies over the years transition ERP systems that were 40+ years old — systems that go back to the Tom Baker era, if anyone is keeping track. For such companies, the shift from a character-based system to a contemporary ERP is enough to tear a hole in a company’s fabric of time. But what does that mean for a company facing such a change?

System Regeneration

Digital transformation is like a regeneration in the Doctor Who series. ERP systems are a new incarnation of the Doctor — they come into being, replacing their predecessors. They go on adventures, solve problems, and take their companion companies to unexpected places. And in so doing, they amass monumental amounts of experience and ingenuity, and ultimately encapsulate the worldview of the time in their rows and their columns.

The worldviews themselves amount to the business requirements of the organization, as they relate to the system in question. Worldviews are not fixed in time, and evolve gradually, as the system is further modified, fine tuned, reconfigured, and integrated with other systems. While this worldview continually changes, the changes are rarely as abrupt as a new body fitting an old suit. 

A migration to a new ERP system, on the other hand, amounts to a much more radical shift in worldviews. The challenges really have to do with the wisdom and knowledge that is bundled up inside the legacy system, and with finding a way to translate that information into the new ERP system without compromising the integrity of the new system.

Don’t blink — it’s no easy task. In this context, the question you must ask yourself relates to how you approach a regeneration, knowing that it must happen. This might be a good time to lean on the good Doctor for assistance. Fortunately, there are several of them from which to choose:

You might approach the needed changes in the spirit of the Tenth Doctor and simply exclaim “I don’t want to go!” That is, you can fight the new system and cling to the old, as it slips away, like breath on a mirror.

Or you might approach an impending regeneration in the spirit of the Eleventh Doctor, understanding that “times change and so must I.” That is, you can get ahead of the transition and maximize the time you have, to remember as much of the legacy system as possible, such that it is not forgotten in the new system. 

The truth is, regardless of your reaction, some form of digital transformation is inevitable. Any moment now, he’s a’ comin’.

I’ve had many customers migrate simply because the current state was no longer tenable: ancient hardware, out-of-date operating systems, applications lacking the faculties to keep up with the current needs of the business, much less lead them into the future.  

I‘ve also seen customers delay a regeneration until the 11th hour, or a minute before midnight, and have thus dragged into a transformation without preparation. When it comes to transformation, preparation is key. Good preparation allows you to understand the business requirements that underly your legacy system. This gives you a better chance of incorporating your requirements into your new system, without trying to forcibly alter the new system to mirror the old.

In working with system implementations, one comes to understand that over the course of a company’s existence, systems change. And that’s ok, that’s good. You’ve got to keep moving, so long as your system remembers all the systems that it used to be.  

We all wish that our digital transformations would have an orchestral accompaniment as the universe sings our legacy systems to their sleep. The truth is, you have to provide the soundtrack. And that soundtrack is a manifestation of the attitude you bring into your system’s story. The song of your legacy system is ending, but the story of your organization never ends — as long as time passes really slowly, in the right order, and the next season does not get cancelled.

Are you seeking an ERP system or technology update?

Talk to our consultants now to begin a conversation that will make your system sing. Get help now with business processes, ERP implementation, digital transformation initiatives and digital transformation strategy. Ready for digital transformation in ’22 style? Go cloud, and get ERP business consulting experts for time-consuming hard and soft digital technology upgrades. Create the ultimate user and customer experience with new cloud computing platforms, without losing historical data. Meet customer expectations by combining a new version of your ERP solution with cutting-edge technology and optimized control over both the data migration process and migrated data. Hoping to use a newer version of your software to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic? Use cloud hosting technology to compete with the best of digital businesses, incorporating third-party integrations easily, to maximize machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other cloud-based digital transformation services.