In your journey to implementing an ERP, it’s crucial to understand that there are existing limitations of an old ERP that can offset your customer experience and good flow of data. In this blog post, we will outline key aspects brands need to consider when adopting ERP software.
High-growth businesses require a robust ERP integration solution that puts them on the path to deliver exceptional customer experiences. But implementing an ERP system, also known as Enterprise Resource Planning, in the first place is a strategic exercise. Since ERPs work as a process integration engine, they unify various activities such as sales, accounting, orders, fulfillment, shipping, and more core back-office operations.
Outdated ERP Damage Your Business – Here’s How To Prevent This
As your brand grows, more complexity and high volume transactions add up, and maintaining your ERP becomes impossible. This is why it’s important that Merchants look for a robust, scalable ERP system that fits with their business needs and goals long-term.
Let’s touch on a few things your business is risking by maintaining an older ERP long-term from an integration and omnichannel experience point of view. They all do go hand in hand almost like a domino effect — the limitations in one bleeds into and topples other areas. These limitations can turn into larger business issues such as poor customer experience, lack of omnichannel use of data, and increased additional operating costs. We will break down the top limitations of an old ERP below.
An older ERP is naturally slower. In fact, its import and export speed and capability will affect the amount of data you can process and how fast. At extremely high volumes, this will have an effect on your business’s ability to execute effectively on orders, which in turn affects your brand image, customer satisfaction, accuracy, and timeliness of omnichannel data.
- Need for an sFTP: The only communication method available will be via sFTP file import and exports. While VL OMNI optimizes our sFTP with listening triggers for a tighter integration, it still becomes a natural chokepoint. It will work with speeds dictated by the ERPs ability to import and export and the schedule set around sFTP look-ups. (Not direct)
- Integrations with an on-premise ERP cannot be done in real-time.
When it comes to older on-premise ERPs, it’s worth mentioning they were not designed with cloud or serverless technology in mind. As a result, you end up shoehorning older technology that otherwise is not an ideal fit for that application. When it comes to consistency, these are some of the limitations of an old ERP:
- There is no feedback loop between integration platforms and an on-premise ERP. Many integration platforms, including VL OMNIs, have validation processes on the data. Due to the nature of sFTPs, the platform doesn’t have a direct access point into the ERP. As a result, you end up with a barrier that prevents any feedback on errors. This turns into bad data, or errors as a result of latency during file import/exports.
- The integration platform would have no visibility into that pickup/drop-off process. Therefore, it can’t validate the success of that transaction sync, reset the workflow (in the case of a timeout), or identify the error for a quick correction.
- Adds an additional point of failure – the sFTP. (sFTPs do not fail often, but like a chain, it adds an extra link that can break the chain and increases the general risk.)
In terms of capabilities, your business is limited to functionality that aligns with the data that can be imported and exported. For example, if you want to set up a customer creation to Shopify Plus, but can’t provide the required data points to set up the customer account from the ERP, you lose access to the potential functionality.
- Lack of real-time integrations: This prevents you from being agile and creating things such as real-time inventory syncs. (This is another case of the shoehorn effect – additional code or data manipulation in the integration platform, rather than having the functionality living in the real application: your ERP).
- No direct integration: Limited capabilities exist with the integration. Thus, it places heavier reliance on the import and export functions between the sFTP/ERP. This is especially apparent around things like a “Customer Create” flow from Shopify to the ERP, Product syncs, and Inventory frequency scheduling. By nature of the above, you end up building much simpler integrations, sacrificing capability for consistency.
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Beyond The Limitations of an Old ERP
In the end, the risks of maintaining an old and outdated ERP are more harmful to your business than upgrading to one that matches your strategic business growth goals. Consider implementing cloud ERP solutions to eliminate the gap between the demand for analytics and business processes. In fact, web-based ERP solutions can easily connect with other platforms and web applications within your enterprise and beyond. All in all, customer experience must be at the heart of everything your business does. When choosing an ERP solution, merchants should avoid outdated ERPs and consider newer solutions.
Strategic long-term thinking that includes data integration and scalability is key to choosing applications that empower your growth and lower your operational costs and reducing errors. In turn, you can create great customer experiences that keep your customers coming back.