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Upgrading ERP software

Upgrading Your ERP Software in 2015

Organizations not keen on agile operations are usually resistant to upgrading ERP systems. Installing a new system brings about unprecedented changes, turmoil and complexity. However, every software has a lifespan and sooner or later, you will need to upgrade your ERP.

Over time, ERP systems lose their crispness and their capabilities start declining. Your competitors start getting a slight edge over your organization and if you don’t upgrade, output can significantly reduce due to inefficiencies.

Upgrading ERP Software

You will realize there is a decline in your ERP performance when  output and revenues reduce and errors are encountered frequently. Below are five warning signs that you should upgrade your ERP in 2015:

  1. Your ERP Does Not Fit Your Business Processes

If employees are struggling to adapt your business processes to fit the ERP, then you need to upgrade. When the EPR was installed, it was meant to make business processes more efficient; not the other way round. However, over the years your business’ best practices may evolve rendering the ERP irrelevant for many processes.

When the ERP is not flexible to adapt to changing practices, employees will find a workaround. When some tasks are handled manually, efficiency reduces and data inconsistencies are likely to occur. In such a case, you should think of upgrading your solution to a modern one.

  1. Your Business Costs Have Increased

As your business grows, some processes may become irrelevant. On the same note, new departments may be created and old ones pruned or merged with others. Such changes are expected in any dynamic business and may make the initial total cost of ownership of your existing ERP irrelevant. Upgrading your existing legacy solution may become necessary to address such changes.

Modern ERP licenses are highly competitive and flexible. For example, most new ERP solutions are based on cloud technology and served on a SaaS model. The SaaS model enables organizations to “pay-for-consumption” for the extent of services they need.

As you choose an ERP software, you should not only watch your initial installation and recurring charges, but also consider how the system will perform compared to your existing solution.

  1. The ERP Does not Support Cloud Computing

Your organization may not have already moved to the cloud but it is only a matter of time before it does. When migrating to the cloud, ERP upgrading becomes essential. There are many advantages of cloud ERP. For example, cloud ERP eliminates much of the infrastructure maintenance, security issues and upgrades of the software from your organization. The vendor is responsible for handling the technical side of the infrastructure.

Cloud ERP solutions allow many concurrent users to access the system at one time and from anywhere they are connected to the Internet. This saves the organization from investing in additional hardware for more users like legacy solutions require.

  1. Staffing and Vendor Reliance

When your current system was installed, it is likely that many IT staffers understood how to use it optimally for different processes in your organization. However, over the years, customization and IT staff turnover may have left you with only a few users that truly understand how to configure and use the system. What will happen if these staff were to be hired by your competition?

If your organization is at a point where only a handful or employees understand the ERP and are irreplaceable, it’s time for an upgrade.

  1. People Start Working Outside the ERP System

When your business processes and activities change and the ERP can no longer support them, employees start creating their own ways of working. For example, consider a situation where your organization adds a product line or process that cannot be accommodated by the legacy solution.

Here, users will resort to using private databases or traditional spreadsheets. This creates a process management island inside your organization that is not supported by the ERP system.The result is having multiple silos of information that cannot be integrated into the system. Problems such as data inconsistencies are common with organizations that have multiple information silos.

If any of the above red flags are evident when you evaluate your current ERP system, it may be time for an upgrade.

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Upgrading ERP

Upgrading ERP: Microsoft Dynamics SL or GP to Dynamics AX or NAV

Microsoft Dynamics AX, Dynamics SL, Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV are leading enterprise solutions tailored for different industries. Many organizations depend on one or more of the four product lines in their daily operations.

When organizations need a new ERP system, the costs of installing or upgrading is something that must be carefully considered. However, did you know that if you already use one of the MS Dynamics products you qualify for full investment credit if you upgrade to a different Dynamics system? The credit is offered as part of Microsoft Dynamics enhancement plan and is referred to as the Product Line Transition.

Companies upgrading ERP from Dynamics SL or Dynamics GP to Dynamics AX or Dynamics NAV can taking advantage of this promotion from Microsoft and save on their new installations. The promotion applies for various transitions, including:

  • Product Line Transition: Move from Dynamics SL or Dynamics GP to Dynamics NAV or Dynamics AX and get full investment credit for the cost of the original ERP purchase.
  • Edition Transition: Changing your Dynamics AX (or other Dynamics ERP product) edition. For example, upgrading Dynamics AX R2 to Dynamics AX R3.
  • License Model Transition: Changing from the Module Based Licensing model to the Business Ready Licensing model, within Dynamics AX (or other MS Dynamics ERP product).

There are a number of reasons why it may be necessary to transition to Dynamics NAV or Dynamics AX. One reason is functionality. While all Dynamics ERP products are solid financial systems, their capabilities are tailored for particular industries. For example, upgrades on Dynamics SL have in the recent years focused on project accounting features, which are best suited for companies in the service industry. If your core business is manufacturing or distribution, Dynamics AX will be a better system to use.

Upgrading ERP

Dynamics AX may not only be a better fit for your organization in terms of functionality, but you can also save on cost by taking advantage of product transition credit. When you switch to Dynamics NAV or Dynamics AX from either Dynamics SL or Dynamics GP, you will receive a full investment credit for the value of your new system to use toward the license cost of the software you are transitioning from.

Benefits of Upgrading to Dynamics AX or Dynamics NAV

To ensure a successful transition, it’s important to worki with a Microsoft Certified partner that has experience with Dynamics AX or Dynamics NAV installation. The partner should also be able to help replace your CRM system to take advantage of Dynamics AX and NAV integration to Dynamics CRM.

Some benefits of upgrading to Dynamics AX include:

a) Increase growth without adding staff

Dynamics AX helps to improve efficiency and output in the organization without increasing costs. As a result, organizations can realize an increase in the volume of transactions and the bottom line.

b) More efficient processes

The order entry process in Dynamics AX is extremely efficient. You can document the time it takes to process orders and drill down on areas where wastage can be eliminated. By having accurate information, you can tell a customer exactly what’s available in store and when it can be shipped out.

c) Flexible for your organization

After Dynamics AX has been installed, you will not have to modify your workflow and procedures to fit the software. The software is made flexible to fit your organization’s present and changing needs. The ERP is also user friendly and does not have a steep learning curve.

d) Integration with Dynamics CRM

You can provide the sales team with the information they need by using Dynamics CRM integrated with Dynamics AX. For instance, the team can view customer information, including pricing directly in Dynamics AX.

e) Better reporting through Excel

Dynamics AX integrates with various Microsoft products, including Excel. The ERP implementation partner can configure AX to generate data directly into Excel in the format that the management wants. This will not only reduce time that employees would have spent on creating reports, but also save you money.

Working with a Microsoft Certified Partner when upgradig from Dynamics SL or GP to Dynamics AX or NAV is crucial to the long term success of your organization.


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MRO Software

How To Prepare For Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015

Part of Microsoft Dynamics’ family, NAV delivers an ingenious ERP solution able to assist small and medium-sized enterprises in finance, manufacturing, supply chain, and customer relationship management. Ready to go one step further, Dynamics NAV 2015, formerly codenamed “Crete,” promises to take care of two pain points most NAV users have encountered over the years:

Dynamics NAV 2015Download our NAV 2015 guide on the new functionality that can automatically match your entries with transactions

1) Upgrades – NAV 2015 includes more upgrade tools to make possible technical upgrades instead of full upgrades. This means that users don’t have to perform any of the additional technical tasks they used to complete before, which will reduce overall deployment and maintenance costs.

2) User experience – Coming with a brand new interface, NAV 2015 will provide a more consistent user experience across Windows, Apple and Android devices.

According to Kirill Tatarinov, Executive Vice-President of Microsoft Business Solutions, the cloud-based Business Intelligence (BI) technologies included in NAV 2015 will also make possible seamless integration with the new Office 365, extending system functionality for superior reporting capabilities. In a nutshell, users will be able to use the tools they’re already accustomed to (Excel, SharePoint and mobile devices) to complete different operations more efficiently.

Why Choose NAV 2015

Although very little information has been published so far, a demo performed during Microsoft Convergence 2014 revealed that “Crete” delivers a wide range of new features, which will make possible advanced data processing. For instance, you’ll be able to develop more relevant formulas and even to use information derived from NAV in conjunction with data collected from other systems in order to perform more complex analyses.

Additionally, you can use the system to create color codes for highlighting titles and different areas of your reports. This way, identifying specific elements on a page becomes a very simple task. Browser performance has also been improved, offering users a truly intuitive and smooth browsing experience.

Upgrading to Dynamics NAV 2015

One thing is for sure: as many people are currently running pre-NAV 2013 versions, an increasing number of users will start looking for system upgrades very soon. Furthermore, Microsoft will end technical support for NAV 2009 in 2015, which means that the latest software version is going to be in high demand.

Fortunately, NAV 2015 is on its way, proposing new, more powerful features, which will not only streamline financial, inventory, warehouse, sales, marketing and service management, but also allow current users to keep customization to a minimum when replacing previous software versions with the latest one.

Besides, the most recent solutions released by Microsoft (e.g. Dynamics NAV 2012 R3 and GP 2013 R2) indicate another essential aspect: over the past few years, the developer has made impressive efforts to develop new mobile business management tools. Dynamics NAV 2015 should be included among these solutions not only because it delivers a new software version, but also because it’s one of the few tools that will help developers turn “mobility” from a simple trend into one of the most essential concepts of Information Technology. Further, the concepts especially created for this new upgrade will provide more reliable upgrade paths for future software solutions.

Should You Upgrade or Re-Implement?

If you’re a NAV user, you have the option to either upgrade or re-implement. To make the right choice, you need to consider the following factors:

  • An upgrade may be a better option if you use a recent NAV version, such as NAV 2009. In case of an older version, it’s better to re-implement.
  • If the version you’re currently using has been heavily customized, re-implementing the system is the best alternative to get stable business solution.
  • If your organization has changed significantly since the last implementation, it’s important to consider the degree of customization performed and required for the future before deciding between a system upgrade and a re-implementation.

As Dynamics NAV continues to evolve, manufacturers will be able to streamline more business areas, while meeting growing customer needs and demands. Though quite brief, the overview presenting the features and technologies included NAV 2015 reveals the fact that this software solution will probably become a key business success factor, helping small- and medium-sized enterprises overcome inefficiencies and move forward toward their goals.