How and Why to Upgrade Your Sage ERP and CRM Systems

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Posted by Mantralogix

So you’ve implemented a new ERP and/ or CRM system – how exciting!  Now you are set for many years to come!  Of course you are assuming your application will stay current.  Well if you are on a Sage ERP or Sage CRM you will be.  

upgrading-legacy-storage-system

Sage as the modern ERP provider spends millions of dollars annually on R&D to maintain ERP/CRM software packages.  Those upgrades with enhancements keep the ERP/CRM systems reliable, stable and efficient. It’s necessary and important to upgrade your system in a timely manner. The following key reasons may help you to decide when you have to upgrade your particular application.

  1. The new upgrades with new features greatly help you to improve your business processes, productivity, and efficiency

  2. The current version of your ERP/CRM systems has reached End-of-Support

  3. The current version may have compatibility issues on your IT infrastructure, such as network, servers, workstations, printers, and even web systems

  4. You may have performance issues or some unknown issues on your current systems

  5. The integration with your other application systems or business partners require to upgrade your current systems

  6. The new upgrades meet your business needs

The value of keeping your ERP/CRM systems up-to-date is that it would help your business operate in a competitive market. But realistically there are some considerations that may cause you to delay your upgrade.

  1. Downtime of your system for the upgrade

  2. Costs for upgrading

  3. Heavily customized ERP/CRM

  4. Learning curve of the new features

  5. Lack of resources to upgrade your system

  6. Other reasons such as lack of documentation, lack of confidence of the new version

So how do you get around these potential challenges?  We suggest that you should work with your ERP/CRM partners/ consultants to advance the following steps.

  1. Preparing an upgrade plan

For each upgrade, the consultants, business owner, super-users and even some end-users should have a meeting to form an upgrade plan so that the impact on the business operations will be minimized. For example, the down time control, responsibility for each person, closing the open batches, running day end process, etc.

  1. Preparing a test environment for your upgrade

Having a test environment is the best way for reducing the down time for your ERP/CRM upgrade. If your current network/servers/workstations are not compatible with the new version, you have to purchase new hardware. The new hardware could be the test environment. If you are going to upgrade your system on the current platform, it’s better to prepare an additional test environment for the test upgrade.

  1. Do a test upgrade on the test environment and invite end-users to test

A test upgrade is necessary for many ERP/CRM systems. It would help the upgrade to be smooth and reduce the issues because of the upgrade. For some heavily customized ERP/CRM systems and some integration functions with other application systems, you have to do a test upgrade in order to test those customized features and integration functions. The test upgrade may also help to test the performance of the new systems, check / train the new feature with the end-users.  

  1. Live upgrade at the office off hours to reduce the downtime

After the test upgrade, the live upgrade becomes more straightforward.  You may need to keep the system running during office hours so you may have to work with your consultant to do the live upgrade off hours (for example: at night or on the weekend). To minimize the down time of your upgrade, you should work with your consultant to have a full test before the live upgrade.

  1. User training and onsite support after upgrade

Sage doesn’t usually make significant user screen changes at each upgrade. That would make the end-users comfortable in using the upgraded version. Sage also provide the ‘What’s new’ documents for training the end-users to understand the changes from the upgrade. The consultants may provide the users a quick review of those new features. Onsite support is suggested after the upgrade to resolve any issues and also help the users become familiar with the new version.

  1. Documentation for any customization or changes

The documentation for any customizations and changes in your system would be great helpful when doing upgrades.  The documentation should include any changes to screens, forms, reports, customized source code / scripts / reports, integration program/source code/scripts, database scripts (new tables, views, store procedures, triggers, indexes, constrains, etc.), configurations with any hardcode path (for example paperless folders). You may also document all the credentials such as the accounts for services, database admin accounts, or website admin accounts.

  1. Budget preparation

Sage usually has a new version release every year for each of their ERP/ CRM applications. Sage technical support supports the most recent 2 versions. So we recommend you plan for an upgrade every two years, at least.  Work with your consultants to understand the cost of an upgrade and craft the budgets for the upgrade and maintenance of your business systems.

  1. Form a super user team

Many organizations usually have a super user team including all key functional users for ERP /CRM implementations. It would be great to keep the super user team for ERP/CRM maintenance including upgrades. The super user team could help to test the upgrade, train the end users with the new features, work with consultants to resolve the configuration issues or data issues, and also help to design the plan for the upgrade and regular maintenance.

The Mantralogix consulting team has more than 20 years of experience in helping our customers to implement, upgrade, and improve their Sage products including Sage ERP /CRM business systems.  It’s in our company’s mandate to help you succeed. You are welcome to contact us for any questions or inquiries at 1-866-320-8922.

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