Business Automation and Software Blog

The Challenges Inherent in Legacy Systems: Successful ERP Planning

Posted by Robert Baran on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

enterprise resource planning

Legacy systems are like a pair of comfortable, well-broken-in shoes: you know they’re worn at the heels and probably should be replaced, but you just can’t bear to part with them.

Unfortunately, unlike a pair of old sneakers or loafers, legacy systems won’t just look shabby if they’re getting old. They slow you down. They stop providing the data that you need or don’t have the robust functionality that your competitors’ systems possess. Then you’re racing to play catch-up when you could have been ahead in the competition to gain customers.

If it’s time to implement new enterprise resource planning systems but you’re facing some resistance over legacy systems, here’s how to gently but firmly overcome the opposition and get a new system installed. Working with a good ERP consultant can help you win the naysayers and gain their support for a new ERP system.

Benefits to Employees from a New ERP System

One of the best ways to win over those who are against a new system is to demonstrate how it will benefit them.

Think about the transition to a new ERP system from your employee’s perspective. You know that a new ERP system will make their job easier, but unless they see it in action, they may not believe you. If previous software rollouts were less than stellar because you tried to do everything on your own, they may have some basis for skepticism.

Try comparing the old system with the new one. Demonstrate key benefits, especially ways in which the new system will save your team time and effort. When they can see the benefits of a new ERP system, their reticence will turn into enthusiasm.

Include Key Team Members in the Project Team

Another method for increasing project buy-in is to add key team members to the project team leading the initiative. When you include people, especially the Negative Nellys, from the outset, they have a vested interest in making sure that the project succeeds. They’ll also feel that their concerns and suggestions are heard.

Many people who may be reluctant to embrace a new ERP system simply don’t understand the enormous potential such systems hold for the company. A skilled ERP consultant can work with your team to help them understand the many benefits of an ERP system and how it may be used to improve their work.

By including team members in the evaluation stages, you’re exposing them to the benefits of a new system early on. They’ll see firsthand during these meetings with your potential ERP system vendor just how much better a new system will be.

Include Features from the Legacy System

Not everything in a legacy system is bad. Some key features may be integral to your company’s success or to a specific team. Talk to your teams and make sure that you’re not removing elements of the old system that help them with important job functions.

Look for ways to integrate essential functions from the legacy system into the new ERP system. Talk to your IT consultant or ERP consultant about ways in which legacy systems can be synched with your new system if you agree that certain systems are a “must” have.

Training Needs

It’s important that your team receives not just one but several training sessions on the new ERP system. Adults learn best by doing. Working on specific projects in the training environment, reviewing and practicing key skills, and trying out all the features of the ERP system will help everyone learn it.

But people will forget things they learn in training, especially if they do not use the skills immediately. One initial training, an email follow-up, and a refresher training a week or two later can be helpful. Ask staff to bring questions and projects into the second training meeting for hands-on work. The more hands-on your team can be with the new enterprise resource planning system, the better their experience and the shorter the learning curve.

Be a Leader and Set an Example

Set the example for your team. Leaders lead by example. Genuine enthusiasm and support for the ERP consultants’ work will show your staff that you care about the success of the project and are determined to make it work.

Expert ERP Consultants: PositiveVision

PositiveVision provides IT consulting and services to manufacturing and distribution companies. We can help your operations run more efficiently and provide you with the right tools to gather accurate and timely data. With the right data, you can better manage your business. Learn more on our website or contact us today.

Topics: Enterprise Resource Planning