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ERP legacy system modernisation: How to bring your business up to date with Intelligent Automation

    • Automating critical legacy ERP systems is a key challenge for most businesses – here’s a step-by-step approach that will help you get it right first time.

      Gartner defines a legacy system as “an information system that may be based on outdated technologies, but is critical to day-to-day operations.”

      Over the years we grow inexplicably fond of legacy systems, enjoying their reliability and familiarity – however, propping up a legacy system for longer than sensible comes with great (and constantly increasing) risk. 

      Obsolete programming languages. Non-existent customer support from long-since closed, or rebranded, providers. Lack of people who can effectively fix or manage errors. Security vulnerabilities. All issues that grow as legacy systems get older. 

      With budgets tight and uncertainty still lingering from a resurgent Covid-19, Intelligent Automation (IA) is the best and smartest way to modernise ERP operations. With an integrated strategy in place, costs can be reduced and ROI can be generated with less time and effort than broader transformation initiatives. 

      Streamlining and automating repetitive tasks and processes, reducing error, and increasing output – all very achievable goals with the right IA stack. 

      But still, the age-old questions remain; How do we begin? Where do we start?

      Getting started with Intelligent Automation 

      Complex legacy systems are often so well integrated that it would be a disaster to rip them out. Instead, we suggest a phased approach, using IA to augment the capabilities of legacy systems and to simplify and digitise processes – with the long-term goal to migrate to a more agile and flexible cloud ERP solution. 

      But how do we drive this ERP automation strategy to begin with? The first step is to identify key areas you need to transform. Where will automation have the most impact? Remember that new technology also brings new human resource challenges – do you have the right skills and systems in place? This is where a technical partner such as Procensol can really help.

      The steps you need to follow to create a coherent automation strategy include: 

      • Discovery and planning

      Ask yourself: What are the processes that need to be automated? Where are they? Why these processes?

      Map out and define all of your processes – you will be surprised how many do not have formal documentation. Review the data. Then make an informed decision on where IA can deliver the most value. 

      • Partner analysis

      Unless you have an extensive in-house IT team and lots of budget to play with, working with a technical partner is a very good investment. Not only can they point you towards the right solutions for your specific challenges, they can also help you implement the technology and train your staff to get the most value from it – similar to what we did with one of our clients, GLAS

      Ask yourself: What are the immediate challenges we can solve here? Where can we save money? How will we monitor and manage IA solutions once they are implemented?

      • Build and deploy

      Once you have a partner in place, the next step is to validate your strategy by testing the technology in an area it can have an impact. If successful, we then move to standardise the IA implementation, so that it can be rolled to other, similar, processes. 

      The opposite is also true. By running IA tests in important yet not business-critical areas, we can also smooth out any errors and exceptions with technical tweaks. 

      • Measure and scale

      An IA implementation is only as good as the results it achieves. As automated processes are run and monitored, we collect feedback to check the performance against a baseline. With performance metrics defined, we can see in granular detail how IA has improved the area of focus. 

      Real-time data will also allow you to plan ahead, allocate resources, and build a business case for further Intelligent Automation projects.

      Conclusion

      Getting started with IA and integrating it with your legacy ERP technology is a complex undertaking, but can be simplified by breaking it down into its component parts. Proactive planning and change management are the tools to address the balance between new technology and human workers. 

      With a strong roadmap in place, which can be supplied and supported by your IA technology partner, you should be able to see measurable results within months (see: how we achieved a 300% productivity increase in one month with IA). The final objective – an end-to-end digital workforce – can only be achieved by taking this first step. 

      Interested in learning more about Intelligent Automation? Learn how to implement IA in the post-pandemic workplace with our latest guide
  • About the Author

    Procensol

    Procensol is recognised by major enterprise clients worldwide as a leader in building process-centric solutions for Business Process Management, Digital Transformation and Innovation.

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