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How Long Do You Expect Your ERP System to Last?

Posted By Chris Chiappinelli, October 21, 2011 at 1:58 PM, in Category: Enterprise Software Selection Support Group

If you said "25 years," I'd be surprised. But that's just what British company Elanders expects from its new Epicor (ERP - http://www.techmatchpro.com/enterprise-resource-planning) system. Is this wishful thinking or sound planning? Take a read of the story below and let me know what you think:

The choice of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can bedevil businesses large and small, as the risks attendant to such a large-scale investment weigh heavily on project managers and software selectors. When a company finally chooses an ERP provider, there’s a tendency to keep the decision quiet, on the assumption that such information might yield business advantage to competitors.

This week, a new customer of ERP provider Epicor broke that mold, announcing that its selection process had ended with the choice of Epicor’s ERP software.

U.K.-based Elanders, which provides print and packaging services, will implement the Epicor ERP system as a replacement for five discrete software packages that had performed an array of functions, Epicor said in a statement this week. The new ERP installation is expected to marry Elanders’ print and art systems and facilitate estimating, finance, production scheduling, customer relationship management (CRM), forecasting, EDI, and Web ordering, according to the vendor.

[For help in choosing the ERP software package that’s right for your business, visit Managing Automation’s sister site TechMATCH, where software selection is simplified.]

In the statement, Elanders’ IT director David Clark expressed a sentiment heard often in software circles. "The business has changed so much since we originally implemented our systems,” he said, “and we need a system that will grow with us, and provide a full 360 degree view of our work.”

Many businesses place a high value on flexibility when they evaluate ERP software packages. Elanders appears to have elevated that expectation to a new level. According to Epicor, the printing company evaluated 10 ERP offerings during its software selection, and eliminated a host of contenders on the assumption that they would need to be replaced in 10 years’ time.

"We can see Epicor giving value to our business over the next 25 years, if not longer,” Clark said. “The whole system is written with transparency, real-time information, and seamless integration in mind.”

Written by Chris Chiappinelli

Chris Chiappinelli is the online research manager for Manufacturing Leadership. He covers enterprise software, sustainability, economic trends, workforce issues, and emerging technologies.

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Posted on
In a similar discussion over on LinkedIn, one commentator said that middleware will probably extend the life of some ERP systems because it creates a form of vendor lock-in. I responded that I thought middleware and SOA were supposed to liberate us from lock-in and make interoperable services de rigueur. I must not have read the brochure closely enough. What do you think?
Posted on
We're at 12 years and see no reason to change. Upgrades and improvements keep the software viable.
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