Reduce the Pain of ERP Upgrades With Better Planning
by Jim Shepherd
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.
In many organizations, the ERP system has become the application
support for the majority of business processes and the repository for
the corporation’s most sensitive data. As these systems become more
important and pervasive, there are often conflicting opinions about
how they should be maintained and updated. This is no longer a technical decision that
can be made by the IT department or dictated by the software vendor’s release schedule.
ERP upgrades are now important enough that senior management needs to fully understand
both the timing and project plan.
This Report offers guidance on developing an overall corporate strategy for maintaining
an ERP system by providing practical advice for planning and managing an ERP
upgrade project. Here are some of the areas that will be addressed:
• Why companies should periodically upgrade their ERP systems
• Defining the strategy and timing for ERP upgrades
• Consensus building and communicating the ERP strategy
• How to justify the cost and resources required for an ERP upgrade
• Creating a project plan for a successful upgrade
• Organization and governance options
• Resources, services, and tools available for upgrades
It is vital that the 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 also 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.