Why A Legacy ERP Is Holding Your Business Back

Posted by Jacob Goodwin in Insights - Last updated

Legacy ERP systems can stifle your business; holding you back through a combination of outdated infrastructure and “out of the box” rigidity.

Every so often, frustrations can come to a head. Yet the motivation for change is too regularly overpowered by the comfortability of what’s familiar.

Question is, is sticking with what you know worth the risk?

The Problem With Legacy ERP

Maintaining what was once cutting edge infrastructure but has since become outdated technology can quickly become more hindrance than help.

“More than three-quarters of business leaders say their current on-premise ERP system does not meet the needs of their business”.

Vanilla Tech

Countless companies are still using big, clunky legacy ERP systems. As undoubtedly brilliant as they are for their core uses, in no way were any of them designed for effective control and crystal clear visibility over the customer process.

Such applications are often “off the shelf” and as customisations are costly and time consuming, it can be difficult to keep the tech aligned with your way of working.

So rather than moulding the software to your offering, you have to put your “square peg” organisation through a legacy ERP “round hole”.

In such a competitive business environment, it’s difficult to see how organisations can perform to their full potential whilst being held back by outdated technologies.

Avoidable ERP Issues

So what are the issues at hand? How does your legacy ERP hold your business back?

Maintenance Costs

What was once suited to your smaller self, has since become strained as it struggles to keep up with the new demands placed on your growing business.

Not only can this drain time, money and resources, it can also restrict your day to day processing abilities as the software being used is simply not fit for purpose.

Mothballed Software

Perhaps your original vendor has since been bought out, as was the trend over the past 10-15 years, as larger ERP suppliers absorbed the competition.

Since then, the technology and systems have degraded over time. With minimal investment assigned to maintain operations they slow down and fail to innovate. This then has a significant, detrimental impact on your own business processes.

Disparate Systems

If your ERP can’t perform every task you require, and nor should it, the only option is to introduce more technology.

Over time, the number of disparate systems can begin to add up and without the ability to integrate with the remainder of your software stack, data becomes isolated and inconsistent.

Integrating fuels efficiency and facilitates automation. Too many systems can kill your productivity.

Unreliable Data

Unreliable data is an inevitable by product of disparate systems.

“The average worker spends nearly 20% of their time looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks”.


Technology is there to make your life easier so a lack of alignment is problematic.

If you can’t trust your data, how can you make the best business decisions?

Mitigating the impact of your Legacy ERP via a single source of truth (SSOT) can revolutionise internal communications, drive down operational costs and increase engagement.

Sole Reliance

As time goes by, and customisations or modifications are made, the insider knowledge of a select few becomes more and more critical. The business becomes reliant on one long serving “hack” who knows the true ins and outs of the ERP.

So what happens if they leave? Or they’re ill? Taking a 3 month sabbatical?

Technology should be clear and accessible. A 20 year old system with one key administrator is not conducive to organisational transparency and crystal clear visibility.

Employee Morale & Frustration

It may seem superficial but a clunky ERP is no fun to use.

If the software looks, feels and operates in a dated manner, especially when compared to the systems your employees are used to using in personal life, the experience is not going to be a positive one.

To keep morale high and frustration low, operational processes should be seamless rather than protracted.

A Dreaded Spreadsheet Alternative

If all else fails and individuals begin to take matters into their own hands, the inevitable fall out becomes a reliance on personal spreadsheets.

Excel is a fantastic tool but is not designed with Customers in mind.

A lack of collaboration, broken formulae and minimal insight at scale combine to make the spreadsheet alternative a productivity and visibility killer.

So how can you improve your systems to do your job better?

A Bright Technological Future

For some organisations, a total overhaul is out of the question. But rather than despair that there is no silver lining, look instead to the possibilities.

Legacy systems may be too ingrained to be totally eradicated, but what they can do is work with, and alongside, other tools.

Modern Process Management systems provide productivity gains alongside more accurate and cost effective business information.

Operational gains then soon follow as employees enjoy engaging with the infrastructure and integrations facilitate a constant flow of accurate, live data.

Legacy risk is mitigated and growth is provisioned for.

Business need to stay ahead of the competitive curve, clinging on to a legacy ERP will only hold you back.

Intrigued to learn more? Check out our Insights Hub to keep your business at the cutting edge.

Jacob Goodwin -

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