Why legacy ERPs are killing your company, and how NetSuite can help
Reports of cybersecurity breaches often include an aside that mentions the systems worst-affected by virus xyz were running on unpatched or older versions of software and OSes. The professionals that run business IT know full well that older systems are highly susceptible, but don’t upgrade.
Why not? Often, the truth is that an upgrade might ‘break’ something important or mission-critical, so the security risk is worth it compared to the cost and hassle of an update. Not to mention the cost of upgrading, which can be similar to re-implementing your system.
Legacy ERP systems can suffer the same fate, and that’s why sometimes they’re rarely if ever updated. On occasion, even small point upgrades have stopped the company’s ERP customizations from working as they should (after, we’d hope, a sandboxed test, rather than being applied to a production system). In the worst cases, an upgrade that’s necessary to ensure a support contract’s validity must be ignored – just to avoid catastrophic consequences to the business’s ability to work.
Any piece of software possessing the power to help a business run more smoothly requires a degree of personalization. Out of the box solutions are great for single-function applications, but even the lowly email client is often extended by use of plug-ins and integrations with other systems. For large-scale management platforms (MRP, ERP, HRM and so on), the platform must be made to serve the company specifically at some level, tuned and tweaked to the users’ workflows and methods.
The situation means that companies are literally working in the same way they have done for years; not because they’re unwilling to change, but because they’re unable to. Rewriting a customized software platform is, of course, possible, but that’s often very costly, and would require dedicating time, money and an infinite supply of headache tablets.
The way out of this mess lies in the cloud, and specifically, fully-customizable ERP hosted remotely, used and paid for as a cloud service. The de facto company in this space is NetSuite, of course.
Now working from under the Oracle umbrella, NetSuite was explicitly written as a cloud-based application back in the days when no-one quite knew what the cloud was. The company’s prescience is paying dividends for its customers, as its maturity means that it can offer the golden combination of a cloud-based platform with the ability to be tailor-able for individual use.
Updates, patches, up-to-the-minute security enhancements, improvements in usability, and new feature deployment are all dealt with by NetSuite, and even a customer’s complex customizations continue unaffected. That’s down to the technology that underpins the NetSuite offerings, which allows completely bespoke deployments to exist between the NetSuite cloud core and the customer.
The main reason businesses love cloud solutions is that unlike in traditional, on-premise IT, there’s little dent in CAPEX entries in the company ledgers for new facilities. OPEX costs are invariably lower, and NetSuite’s solutions are often a fraction of the price that some unlucky organizations are having to pay for so-called maintenance and support.
In businesses that invested even a few years ago in large-scale business management platforms, the vast majority of an IT department’s operating budget can quickly go back to the original vendor for an intractable solution. There are quite a few more drawbacks too – read this PDF for the low-down on legacy ERP vs. cloud-based NetSuite.
Before it switched away from just such an in-house ERP, Spandex America was spending three percent of its total revenues on ensuring it could continue to use its ERP (which will naturally remain namenlos). The cost of the new NetSuite ERP is now 0.1 percent of its revenue, by the way.
There’s also the small matter of evolution, which in technology is a highly accelerated process. Staff now expect to work on their mobile devices or remotely, and partners like supply chain suppliers either expect or are better managed when the companies’ systems interface and communicate in real-time. With NetSuite’s modular approach and baked-in open, interactive code base, those possibilities are standard – not expensive add-ons that represent hundreds of days’ development work on the core of a legacy ERP solution.
Evolution also happens at the level of the organization itself. Companies need to change, scale out, enter new partnerships, try out new markets and quickly explore new territories. Even huge companies that are household names (IBM and Microsoft are prime examples) have changed their entire business models. Today, agility means more than the ability to cope with a larger-than-average customer order.
It goes much deeper; true business agility involves utilizing remote assets quickly (like a call center overseas) or entering a whole new area (like selling into Asian marketplaces). NetSuite’s modular, multilingual nature and an extensive range of supported business types mean that gradual and/or step changes can happen, without having to re-engineer the software underpinnings of the organization.
In the wider world, there’s also change. Legislation covering data protection, privacy, public and private information changes from territory to territory, and new rafts of governance legislation can appear and massively affect businesses anywhere on the globe. Luckily, the NetSuite platform adapts itself accordingly.
There are hundreds of international tax schema ready to go, and the software is fully compliant with the California Data Protection Act, GDPR, the US’s 1099 Rule changes and the UK government’s Making Tax Digital initiatives – to name just a few. E-commerce vendors get PCI-DSS compliance, and as you’d expect, every scrap of data is backed up securely and available as rollbacks.
Whatever your line of business, high fashion, industrial manufacturing, service-based, or not-for-profit, the NetSuite platform is ready to adapt to your organization, now and as it changes.
To read more about how legacy software is stopping your organization from developing as it should, and costing you a fortune into the bargain, download this PDF from NetSuite.