ERP Replacement: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The thought of implementing a new enterprise resources planning (ERP) system can be overwhelming, especially when presented with so many enterprise software solutions to choose from.

But keep in mind, having these thoughts may or may not be applicable to every situation. For example, a high-end tier-one custom solution will (hopefully) provide all the functionality required. Most customers will opt not to choose a high-end solution because it can be quite costly and difficult to maintain.

The reasons highlighted below are not comprehensive. This is not a list of everything you need to know, but rather a list of highlights of areas that are frequently not included or are areas that are underemphasized.

First, your current system may need upgrading and replacement if:

  • Your current vendor goes out of business, merges, and/or your support dwindles.
  • Your Vendor “sunsets” your current system, choosing instead to place emphasis on other lines of business or products.
  • Your current solution runs on a platform (e.g., servers) that is outdated. This would be the case if your vendor is not committed to staying up to date with the latest technology systems.
  • Your customer base requires features not available in your current system. Customer needs and expectations grow over time, and your system should be updated. What happens when new legislative mandates require new features?

When you start, you need to go to extreme lengths to define what you want – outputs, inputs, processing, how-to-flow, etc. Consider all day-to-day, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly activities. Define the current and planned output environment, i.e., printing and paperless output options. The desktops (including laptops and home computers if you have to telecommute), large printing systems, electronic documents to store reports and logs, retention of those reports, methods of payments all need to be addressed. Build all these considerations into a requirements document, a specification. This will be the measure by which you make your choice.

So many agencies are pressed to dedicate their staff members to build the requirements, but peak-loading staff demands are easily met by hiring an IT consultancy and managed service provider with the right expertise to help with contract negotiations and even manage your ERP implementation project(s).

SDI Presence (SDI) offers a proven ERP procurement methodology designed to protect your business operations, increase efficiency, and reduce potential business interruptions. Our team of exceptional IT consultants continually reviews and updates their knowledge base to improve and refine SDI’s ERP procurement services. With a 20-year corporate resume and over 190 municipal, county, state, and special district clients served, SDI’s approach to every engagement is to serve as your trusted advisor for all your procurement and technology needs.

About SDI’s Guest Blogger

The “ERP Replacement: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” blog was originally authored for the Municipal Information Systems Association of California (MISAC) by SDI’s IT Consultant and MISAC lifetime member Tim Williamsen.

Mr. Williamsen is an experienced IT leader, a licensed and degreed electrical engineer, specializing in IT management, control systems (SCADA), cybersecurity, service delivery, and business solutions. Mr. Williamsen has more than 35 years of experience, with more than 20 years in public sector IT leadership.

Mr. Williamsen is widely regarded throughout the industry in all levels of IT management, system troubleshooting, design, installation, and administration. His skills range from project accounting, management, estimating, and scheduling to fiber optics, to audio/video and electrical power distribution, software development, systems integration, and maintenance.

Looking for a local partner that is willing to invest in your business technology environment, while bringing deep experience to advise you through technology change? Contact SDI to assist you with achieving both your immediate and long-term IT objectives.