For many organizations, understanding how to support a legacy ERP is one of the most important endeavors they undertake.
Back-office business functions depend on a properly working ERP software system. If business and IT leaders decide to continue using a legacy ERP, they must take the right approach or risk security issues and disruption.
Here are some best practices companies can implement to support their legacy ERP and get the most out of their software.
1. Hire in-house SMEs
Subject matter experts (SMEs) are crucial resources for companies using a legacy ERP system. They can support escalation of ERP issues and provide insights into optimizing processes and workflows within the context of the legacy ERP. These SMEs are generally users who are knowledgeable about both the company and the ERP software.
Companies without in-house SMEs usually rely on their ERP vendor for help, and the vendor may not understand the organization's specific workflows and use cases.
2. Create well-defined processes and SOPs
One of the most common legacy ERP issues is data errors, which sometimes occur because of users' mistakes. Lack of training can cause users to make data errors, and the high employee turnover because of the current labor shortage can lead to inadequately trained new employees.
Consider including end-to-end training on all key ERP activities as part of onboarding. Providing new employees with standard operating procedures (SOPs) and training material so they can refer to it later could also reduce ERP user error.
3. Implement vendor-recommended updates
Just like any other software tool, an ERP system needs frequent patches and updates so a vendor can deploy fixes for system issues or performance problems. Keep up with ERP updates so the system runs as well as possible.
Upgrading to the latest software version is also important because it ensures the system is compatible with other software changes, like server OSes.
4. Maintain an ERP vendor support agreement
Some companies allow their legacy ERP vendor support agreement to lapse because leaders want to avoid updates and upgrades, believing they will be costly and disruptive. But an ERP bug or system error may occur that only the vendor can solve. Retain a support and maintenance agreement so this resource is available during a crisis.
5. Implement ERP add-ons
Add-ons could alleviate some of the legacy ERP system's limitations and address some of the resulting business challenges.
For example, an electronic data interchange (EDI) provider could integrate an existing system with an external one, enabling the two to exchange data. An EDI exchange provider would eliminate the need for employees to enter data into multiple systems.