Old ERP architectures not a good fit with today's business demands
Companies that want to benefit from the cloud and enterprise mobility must migrate from legacy ERP solutions to modern architectures, says Jeremy Waterman, MD of Sage ERP Africa.
Mid-market companies that want to take full advantage of the benefits of the cloud and enterprise mobility in their businesses need to consider migrating from legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to ones based on modern technology architectures.
That's according to Jeremy Waterman, Managing Director of Sage ERP Africa, who says many organisations are held back by business solutions based on ageing technology architectures. "Many ERP packages have technology architectures that date back to 20 or 30 years, and few vendors have comprehensively overhauled the old technology underlying their systems," says Waterman.
"These vendors have added layers of the latest technologies to cater for today's requirements of the cloud and mobility. The result is that organisations are relying on ERP solutions designed for an era of green screens rather than one designed for the modern era."
Waterman says vendors have retained older technology architectures because of the cost, risk and complexity of migrating business logic to newer technology. However, the drawback is that legacy ERP systems are becoming more difficult and expensive to maintain and upgrade as new layers of technology are added on top of them.
"The user experience becomes fragmentary and unsatisfactory, because legacy code bases were not designed for mobility, the cloud, self-service business intelligence and other current technology trends," says Waterman. "Users are often frustrated by how inflexible their ERP systems are compared to the flexible and powerful apps they use each day on their smartphones."
ERP customers want solutions that allow them to become more agile and connected in the way they do business - for example, by allowing them to mobilise core business processes; by enabling them to integrate their solutions with those of other companies in their supply chain; and by opening new technology options for them, such as software as a service, Waterman says.
With this in mind, Waterman says vendors should be re-engineering their business software for a world of cloud services, mobile access and consumerisation. "Today's world of connected services and mobile apps demands core business and ERP solutions that are leaner, more focused, more modular and more agile," he adds.
Such a solution should feature an architecture that allows users to add functionality as they need it rather than forcing them to implement every component of the software. It should also be configurable so that the enterprise can adapt it to its needs without the need for extensive customisation.
Sage ERP Africa has unveiled the next generation of its global mid-market ERP solution, Sage ERP X3 version 7 with the goal of including today's technology as a standard. The new version of the software has been designed to transition to new technology architectures that are native to today's world of the Internet and mobile computing, Waterman says.
It has usability and mobility integrated as standard, allowing mid-sized organisations to get more done faster and while on the move. It also includes an HTML5 user interface which supports multiple browsers and user personalisation.
"Sage ERP X3 version 7 evolves our product by using a conversion client to manage the transition to new technology," says Waterman. "Our approach minimises the short-term risk of redeveloping the underlying business code while providing the ability to completely redevelop the relevant business processes going forward."