Reduce the Pain of ERP Upgrades With Better Planning

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If you’re like most organizations, your ERP system has become the application support for the majority of your business processes and the source for your corporation’s most sensitive data. As these systems become more important, there are often conflicting opinions about how they should be maintained and updated. This is no longer a technical decision that should be made by the IT department. ERP upgrades are now important enough that senior management needs to fully understand both the timing and project plan.

A project plan for an ERP upgrade should look like a condensed version of an ERP implementation plan, since the essential steps are the same. In most cases, though, the duration and resources required will be reduced. Regardless of how narrow the scope is for an upgrade project, it always needs a formal project plan and a project team. The project should have a strict structure in place and management oversight with specific milestone dates, metrics, and change management. Companies that take a casual approach to upgrades or simply dump the project in the lap of the IT department will increase the risk of business disruption and jeopardize the expected benefits.

It is also vital that your company develops a strategy for how often the software and underlying technology will be updated so that the entire organization can plan and budget for the inevitable costs and disruptions. Because upgrades are periodic events, it is important to create a repeatable process as well as a set of tools and skills to ensure the projects can be executed efficiently while minimizing any risk to the organization.

The bottom line is that the key to minimizing the pain of ERP upgrades is to have both a long-term ERP lifecycle strategy and a comprehensive tactical plan for the actual upgrade project. InterDyn Artis, established in 1989, is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner dedicated to the implementation, training and support of the Microsoft Dynamics line of products including Microsoft Dynamics GP (Great Plains), Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, and Business Intelligence.

By InterDyn Artis, a North Carolina Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner

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