Complete guide to ERP migration: How to revive your software
Over the years of our work, we faced a lot of cases when companies came to us with requests to build a new ERP system for them because their old ones couldn’t satisfy their continuously changing business needs. And on the one hand, such a way out may seem to be quite logical: if something is not appropriate anymore, you need to replace it. But on the other hand, we are here to help your businesses thrive. That’s why after any request from our customers, we always closely analyze their situation, goals, requirements, and the existing software environment. And based on our experience we can say that in the majority of cases, the problems caused by the use of an obsolete ERP can be efficiently solved with software migration.
In this article, we’d like to tell you more about this approach to software modernization and explain when and why it can become the best solution for many companies.
How to understand that you need to migrate your ERP?
A good enterprise resource planning system is intended for helping businesses to manage a lot of various activities like supply chain operations, accounting, procurements, and others and to unite them together by enabling data flow between them. But while your activities are scaling, evolving, and gaining momentum, your software should be changing and updating in order to meet the new requirements of your businesses.
That’s why there are some particular signs and factors that can demonstrate the necessity to think about migration.
- Your ERP system can’t deal with your changing business needs.
- Your ERP can’t support the constantly growing volumes of data to be processed.
- Regular downtimes and loss of business data prevent your employees from fulfilling their tasks.
- Your existing ERP can’t streamline and automate your new business processes.
- There is no possibility to ensure access to the ERP from mobile devices despite the growing demand for it.
- You want to integrate your ERP software with third-party services but it is not possible.
- You notice that your expenses on your ERP support and maintenance are getting higher and higher.
- You are not sure whether your ERP can comply with all the ongoing changes in the regulation that is in force in your country.
It will be absolutely wrong to say that if you can detect such factors in your situation, your ERP definitely should be migrated. All cases need to be considered individually. Nevertheless, their presence definitely indicates that you need to pay attention to the state of your software and start looking for experts who can help you to overcome the existing issues in the most feasible way.
Benefits of ERP migration
Migration of an ERP solution to another technology or to a newer version of the used one has a lot of advantages that make this step really sensible to consider for your business. Though there can be some company-specific benefits, let’s have a look at least at the key points.
- Enhanced efficiency of business operations;
- Better organization-wide visibility and improved collaboration between departments;
- Streamlined business processes;
- Regulatory compliance and higher data security;
- Reduced tech support and maintenance costs;
- Seamless functioning without interruptions;
- Scalability and possibility to integrate third-party solutions;
- Easier access to developers and other tech experts who have relevant skills and qualifications for working with updated systems.
ERP migration cases from our practice
The benefits of ERP migration can be also shown with the help of the cases from our practice. One of the clients that we worked with was a manufacturer of car spare parts. The company used the ERP system built in Pascal over 30 years ago. That software simply couldn’t meet new business requirements, it was not scalable enough, and its performance was too low. The expenses for its maintenance were growing but in-house developers couldn’t migrate business logic and databases to a modern technology though they created up-to-date UI.
After analyzing all the requirements and estimating the volumes of databases to be transferred, we offered to opt for Delphi 10.1 (it was the latest version of Delphi at that time). We successfully conducted step-by-step migration with core modules being migrated in the first turn.
Thanks to the correct planning, the entire process was carried out in such a way that allows us not to stop the company’s production lines and not to interfere in its everyday business processes. Moreover, we managed to make it possible for the client’s in-house team to support the product and enrich it with new features without turning to external experts.
For another customer that provides ERP solutions for the automotive industry, we needed to conduct a migration of their system from Delphi 2007 to Delphi 10.4. They wanted to migrate their product to a newer technology version to make sure that it will meet modern UI standards and that it will be easier to support it. The main challenge for us was that we got a partially migrated solution and needed to continue the work initiated by another team.
But thanks to deep software analysis, detailed planning, and splitting the project into subprojects, we optimized the whole process and managed to achieve the desired results.
Possible pitfalls that you can face during ERP migration
ERP migration is a rather complex tech process that includes multiple steps and tasks which are associated with various possible challenges and difficulties that developers need to deal with. All cases in our practice were absolutely different, they had their peculiarities and pitfalls which required individual approaches to them. Based on our experience and knowledge in the domain, we can define the following widely spread pitfalls that you should be aware of if you are considering ERP migration.
- Issues with legacy software. Some components of legacy systems may be incompatible with newer technologies. And this will add a huge volume of work for developers who will need to re-build the required features.
- Possible downtimes. Any ERP system is serious software that ties core business activities. When migration is being conducted, some features or services can stay unavailable which can cause interruptions in enterprise functioning.
- Data quality. Migration of databases is an important step in the entire process. If the quality of your existing data leaves much to desire, it may represent a serious challenge.
- Changes for your employees. Migration of your ERP system will lead to changes in system functioning and in the ways of interaction with it. Though such updates will bring positive results, your employees may still need time to get accustomed to them.
Though this list may look quite alarming, we’d like to highlight that it is possible to avoid any issues and risks related to these challenges with the right approach to migration and relevant technical skills.
Points to consider before starting an ERP migration project
If you have decided that migration is the best option to breathe new life into your legacy ERP system, let us provide you with a couple of useful tips that will help you to optimize this process.
- Set clear migration goals. You and your migration team should have an excellent understanding of the future outcomes of this process. This will also help you to prioritize the tasks in the right way.
- Choose realistic time frames and plan the entire process properly. Without good planning, it will be quite difficult to manage the migration. As a rule, this task will be fulfilled in cooperation with your migration team.
- Consider possible risks and be ready for them. The better you will understand potential risks, the better ways to mitigate their impact you will be able to find.
- Prepare your data for migration. To ensure secure and efficient data migration, you need to deal with all the issues related to data (such as duplication and inconsistency).
- Discuss new ways of working with your employees. As ERP systems are used by specialists from all departments of your company, it is vital to approve new methods of work during and after the migration. All employees should know how the changes will affect their everyday tasks.
Step-by-step ERP migration plan
Below you can find an approximate plan of what your ERP migration process may look like. Nevertheless, please, bear in mind that it can be changed in accordance with your specific business needs and the peculiarities of your software.
- ERP state analysis;
- Definition of requirements and goals;
- Search for a team that will execute ERP migration;
- Choosing the platform of technology for migration;
- Development of a roadmap and process planning;
- ERP migration execution;
- Testing of the migrated system and bug fixing;
- User training;
- Regular performance monitoring.
Instead of a final word: How to choose a company that will migrate your ERP system
If you do not have in-house resources for migrating your ERP system, you can find an IT partner and rely on the services provided by external specialists. Given the continuously expanding software development market, the process of searching for a trustworthy company can become a challenge. We strongly recommend you pay attention to the following factors:
- Expertise in ERP migration;
- Tech stack;
- Reviews from the company’s clients;
- Terms of cooperation.