When it comes to upgrading your software, the process itself doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, with most systems, they reduced the upgrade process to as little as a few mouse clicks and that’s it. And it can be just as easy with updates to your Epicor software.
Nobody dreams of spending their days upgrading dense computer software systems. For most of us, checking for easy-to-miss bugs and backing up isn’t a fun way to spend an afternoon. There’s a reason upgrading most software has become easy as pie, and that’s because we, the consumer, demand it. We know we need constant updating to guarantee the best functionality, so we require those updates to be easy and consistent.
It’s with this in mind that we bring you our official breakdown of tips for, benefits of, and potential problems with updating your Epicor system.
Reasons to Upgrade Your ERP
In the world of software maintenance, you either stay with the times or get buried. There is very little in this world worse for your software than to “maintain the status quo”. Go for an extended period with no upgrades, and you’re almost certain to experience some of the following:
- slower performance
- inexplicable errors
- reduced efficiency
Continuing to use older features despite available updates puts you at a disadvantage. Your competition is out there, using new, streamlined editions of your software and speeding up their operations, as a result. By association, your operation is now lagging.
The same applies to Epicor updates. Over time, older versions of this platform become less supported. They will phased-out until there is no maintenance service whatsoever for them. This creates security issues, results in malfunctioning platforms, and can hamper your output. Regular updates are essential for fixing potential bugs and maintaining your overall performance.
Tips For Your Upgrading Epicor
Once you’ve committed to your Epicor upgrade, it’s time to get the ball rolling. Before you can begin in earnest, you’re going to want to plan the entire process out and make sure you’re equipped for the task at hand. Consider some of the following tips for streamlining your upgrade process.
Upgrading your system is an important process. Don’t take it lightly. That said, it’s a good idea to start with a full plan of how your upgrade is going to go.
Identify what you need from your system, first. Take a few moments to examine the customizations currently in place. Then, decide what needs upgrading or replaced, moving forward.
You’ll also want to involve a team of stakeholders who will be responsible for performing upgrades. With reliable representatives on-hand to help guide the process, you’ll be able to divide the workup for better efficiency.
During this strategic period, make sure to factor in some of the steps while devising your plan:
- Archive old data to streamline the process and avoid lost resources.
- Consider whether your customized and personalized features are necessary. If so, examine them for potential issues. Remember, these modifications may well become integrated into future updates, meaning you don’t need them. They also often make upgrades more challenging, so if you can deal without them, why keep them onboard?
- Confirm your data is protected. Address any potential security threats to the system and make sure to consult with a professional about plugging them up.
Of course, the best resource for any big project such as this is always going to be the official documentation. Luckily, when it comes to ERP upgrades, there are several fantastic tools at your disposal. From overall guides, such as this, to white papers from the Epicor team, themselves, there’s something for any occasion.
This can be a nuanced process, be sure to read through any guides or tips fully before starting. This will help you to predict certain issues, understand other unexpected problems, and respond to either.
Epicor’s Three-Stage Approach
The official upgrade methodology by Epicor Professional Services expands on its updated documentation. It provides users and stakeholders with a complete checklist and toolset for a successful Epicor software upgrade.
It’s also versatile, given that different clients have unique technical needs and capabilities. It’s the company’s way of adding value by way of being flexible.
A common misconception about this process is that it’s “just a way to upgrade from an older version”. The tool itself allows for full updates to the latest versions of Epicor ERP. It’s also just a great way to stay on top of the technical aspects of your system and, frankly, to make yourself a better overall administrator.
Epicor’s analyzer is a licensed tool developed to help users manage their upgrades by understanding it better. Generate full reports on your system environment, as well as key data trends and a full outline of your current system.
Make sure to run the analyzer ahead of your upgrade. This will help to document your pre-upgrade system and understand any complications that occur. Without this information, it can be difficult to understand what happened if something happens.
Then, following the upgrade, make sure to run the analyzer again. This will give you your “after” snapshot, so have a full understanding of the new system’s configuration and improvements.
Employee education is essential when it comes to upgrading your software. Sure, there are tons of great resources out there for companies to handle the process on the fly, but hoping for the best doesn’t always work. Whether you’re upgrading your software or implementing a new set of features, your best bet is always to be proactive. And that means investing in employee learning.
Training your employees in the updated features and workflow of your upgraded system enhances the value of that system. Epicor University has a lot of great training material with exactly this in mind. Their robust selection of tools includes many of the following:
- documentation and manuals
- short videos
- training courses
Many of these tools and resources are available completely for free. You may access these tools and make for a far more smooth upgrade process, turning your employees into experts in the old fashioned way.
Informed Users Make Informed Decisions
Problems A New Version Can Bring
No newly released software is bug-free, and it would be unreasonable to expect Epicor ERP 10 to be, either. In our time in the field, we’ve come across various bugs with every update. Most are fairly easy to work around, and we’ve made it our job to bring those workarounds to our clients. But the truth is, ERP is like any other piece of software: prone to complications when things change.
The quicker you can get your system analyzed, the sooner you’ll identify issues that affect your use of the application. Last-minute issues can be a major headache during regular operations, so it’s important to have a fair idea of what the potential issues may be. That way, when they inevitably come up, you’ll be ready to react.
One of the biggest concerns for many businesses is the question of their third party systems and automated processes. The system’s functionality and connectivity improve with third-party tools like DocStar or BarTender.
These can be varied and hard to pin down, but factor into your initial plan. When this kind of system is the backbone of your operation, you need exact answers that work to your specifications.
For many of these systems, that will take the form of conversions, for various workflows to function properly with Epicor 10. Net. Conversion processes exist for all of these, so it’s important to assess your system beforehand and make sure you know which ones you’ll need.
Epicor 10 and Crystal Reports or SSRS are very compatible. However, the additional output options provided by SSRS make it much more important to switch over while upgrading. UD fields can prove challenging within the Epicor Report Data Definition screen. But the process as a whole is well worth the effort, making for more reliable reporting moving forward.
Keep Your Epicor Software Updated
Your Epicor software package is a multifaceted thing with a lot of depth to it. So any list of tips for upgrading it is never going to be entirely comprehensive. Over (hopefully) many years of usage, you’ll notice your fair share of new and interesting problems with your upgrades. What is most important, however, is to research your system, consider your needs, and backup completely before updating.
Looking for more insights into your Epicor ERP software? Check out some of our other blog posts, today, for more great content!