In some ways, enterprise applications are like professional athletes.
There is a period of promise. There is a period of inconsistent, but incremental growth, which culminates in a period of eminence and excellence. Then, there is the period of slow decline, of lowered expectations, and eventually, the time for a replacement. For every Joe Montana, there is a Steve Young, for every Brett Favre, an Aaron Rogers. But ERP vendors have one advantage that us mere mortals lack. While it’s terribly difficult to reprogram a creaky knee or a sore arch, it is possible to reprogram an enterprise system.
To paraphrase Marcellus Wallace,
Some athletes think their bodies will age like wine. If you mean it turns to vinegar, it does. If you mean it gets better with age, it doesn’t.
As an Epicor ERP implementation consultant, I’ve stepped into many organizations whose business systems, to keep with the culinary motif, have more gristle on them than a bucket of secret recipe chicken. Their basic structure is like a freezer-burnt fry hen. And since it takes more spice to make an old bird taste good, their aged systems have become harder to maintain, harder to support, harder to extend or reconfigure.
The secret recipe I recommend to these Epicor ERP implementation clients is to begin with a new bird. It is possible to take an aging platform and replace it with a more current, more robust platform, one fit for future endeavors.
It is also possible to do all of this while still retaining the original flavor—competencies, and capabilities of the application that have differentiated it from its competitors. Epicor spent the last few years doing just that—replacing its aged legacy architecture with its version 10 application: a full-stack Microsoft platform, a platform that makes it more scalable, maintainable, and versatile than it ever was. For Epicor customers who haven’t made an ERP software upgrade and are living on its legacy versions, a migration path has provided them with the programmatic equivalent to a Canterbury spring—the fountain of youth.
Still, many Epicor customers are hesitant to make the jump from their legacy 803 or 905 version of the software to its new version 10 manifestation. In working with customers, I’ve found that companies often have a few distinct challenges preventing them from making the jump:
Epicor ERP Customizations:
- Companies that have significantly customized the application in its legacy version fear that it will be impossible to bring them up to version 10 without chaos. They fear that Humpty Dumpty will not come together in 10, as he had in the legacy version.
Epicor ERP Product Configurators:
- Epicor’s Product Configurator module is a challenging and complex module to master, in any version. With the advent of version 10, the architecture of Epicor’s Product Configurator module changed dramatically. Companies that have dialed in their legacy configurators may shirk from the effort to redesign the wheel in a new version.
Epicor ERP Crystal Reports:
- With the move to a Microsoft-centric stack, Epicor moved from the Crystal Reports to SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) as its reporting platform. Customers comfortable with Crystal may be hesitant to go through the effort to replace their suite of custom Crystal reports with their SSRS concomitant.
But the challenges in moving to version 10 are not insurmountable. In a recent webinar, we discussed some of the methods that one could employ to overcome these challenges. In subsequent posts, I will further discuss these methods. Our goal at the Estes Group is to make it such that the benefits of moving to Epicor’s version 10 platform outweigh the risks and the costs.
So if you’re on a legacy version of the application, and if you’re tired of running on an old set of drummies, come check us out—we’d love to talk with you, and help get your company running again.