This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.
You've been running your distribution business on the same software for more than a decade. It paid for itself years ago and still performs the same basic functions it did when you logged in that very first time. You have every reason to feel proud of making a sound technology investment way back when.
What others - including your employees and customers - might not tell you, however, is that this same software could be slowly, inexorably strangling the life out of your business.
I recently spoke with a wholesaler who was a "power user" of one of our legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms dating back to the mid-1980s. He admitted that his software had outlived its purpose as far back as 2002. He finally upgraded to a powerful, modern solution in 2014. So, what happened during the intervening years? "We coasted, and it hurt us," he said. "I knew I needed to make a change, but kept coming up with reasons to wait till next year."
What this business owner would tell you today is that had he replaced his old software even four years earlier, it already would have paid for itself multiple times through increased efficiency, reduced labor and inventory expenses, and improved customer satisfaction.
"It's always easy to put off an important decision until next month or next year - especially when it involves a financial investment," he said. "But the worst thing you can do is convince yourself that indecision doesn't carry a price of its own. And that price can be very high."
This business owner saw firsthand what he had been missing simply by observing his employees, who were now "willing to explore new ways to service our customers." With the old system, they had a limited ability to capture important information on customer buying patterns. They were spending hours each day on price maintenance rather than focusing on building sales. They couldn't analyze their business performance beyond a few canned reports.
With the new software, however, all of this changed. "I suddenly saw long-time employees who were re-energised and who had confidence that they could attack problems in new, more efficient ways. It was like they had been waiting for me to give them these tools for several years. How do you assign a value to that?"
Impact throughout the Business
Unlike transaction-based legacy systems, unlimited access to your business data in a modern, open database environment can give employees the ability to analyse, providing real-time information to make better decisions and call out exceptions. This can lead to improved customer service and growth.
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