Modern Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications are truly comprehensive suites, with modules for every procurement, accounting, treasury, and human capital transaction and situation imaginable. Over the years, ERP systems have continued to grow in importance and have played a critical role in organizations in a wide variety of industries.
Many legacy ERP application administrators have been downloading critical patches and tax updates every year to keep your ERP compliant and reliable, and yet there are existing features plus new features that simply aren’t being used. Further, both PeopleSoft version 9.2 and EBS version 12.2 came out in 2013.
Oracle Fusion Applications (now known more commonly as Oracle Cloud) first hit the market in 2011. For the past decade, these applications have been pushing out regular updates, some big, some small, and yet many organizations have stuck with maintenance when they could be pursuing broad expansion of functionality. Oftentimes maintenance takes priority over functionality expansion or the addition of new modules, but having the best of both worlds might not be as complicated or time consuming as users anticipate.
While certain standalone applications excel in their individual operational area, there are huge savings to be found in fully leveraging the functionality within your ERP suite. Below, we’ll discuss three points to to consider when looking to enhance your ERP system.
License agreements, new features, and building employee skills can elevate your ERP system
1. Many license agreements include unused modules that can broadly improve operations while remaining affordable.
Instead of purchasing a standalone application to fill a need, first consider evaluating your existing license agreements to find modules you may already own as part of your ERP suite, or lower your costs by sticking with the same vendor and renegotiating your contract to include additional functionality.
By taking stock of your unused modules, you may be able to find additional opportunities for leveraging your ERP investment. Since your internal development team (or support partner) already has the technology skills and experience in supporting your existing ERP, you can leverage those same resources to support expanded module functionality much more easily than learning an entirely new application. This can be a great option for expanding your organization’s capabilities while keeping costs low due to the ability to limit your financial investments to being based on existing internal labor costs or costs already associated with having an external support partner.
2. New features are being constantly released for many of these applications.
While looking out for new applications can be advantageous, consider paying particular attention to recently released features and the future roadmap for your ERP to identify if the tools your business needs are already available or will be shortly. Depending on your software vendor, you may be able to impact the roadmap by participating in community spaces, opening support tickets, and reaching out to your account representative. Having awareness of the update release dates for your ERP systems will help you stay on top of new features so that when they are released, critical and potentially time-sensitive features don’t go overlooked.
3. Implementing new functionality and up-skilling staff can be more impactful and less risky than changing your application completely.
It’s no secret that technology implementation projects fail when change management efforts can’t build sufficient buy-in from users. By keeping change related solely to expanded features and functionality, there is far less risk to your organization than changing process, technology, and behavior all at once. Up-skilling staff to use newly available reporting or data analytics lets you gain deeper insights into your organization by relying on new tools, and existing employee knowledge simultaneously.
Often, the best investment you can make is in educating and training your employees to use the ERP system you have. Having a sufficient amount of initial and ongoing training for every type of ERP user is crucial to ensuring that your people know the ins and outs of using your ERP system. It may be that after the initial training period, ongoing or ad hoc training is required.
Organizations often fail to reassess how much users have retained after the initial training period is complete. With knowledge transfer, there are always going to be gaps in what users are able to learn and demonstrate from training and what they are actually able to put into practice in the day-to-day. Revisiting and expanding on previous training can help ensure that users are able to deliver best practices to their processes.
The next time you’re shopping for a new application, consider looking internally to see if you have the answer to your questions sitting on a shelf, or perhaps already installed. Enlisting your internal team to take a look at these unused or underutilized modules is is an excellent low-cost way to get the most out of your Enterprise Resource Planning software.
Unsure of where to start? Elire specializes in helping organizations maximize their ERP systems, and our team of industry experts are here to assist with everything from providing initial optimization assessments with recommendations on how to maximize your investment, to implementing your ERP system when you’ve decided you’re ready to make switch. Our team is able to assist your organization every step of the way. Visit Elire’s Cloud Consulting Services page for more information and download our informational PDF surrounding Cloud Optimization.