When it comes to replacing old/legacy inventory software, many businesses abandon the search due to the fear and anxiety associated with making such a big business change and capital investment. While the adage “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” may seem to apply in this situation, in reality, there are likely hidden costs associated with maintaining an outdated solution that is negatively impacting your business. It’s not only important to evaluate the costs of finding new software, but also the costs of making no decision at all. In both situations, the costs are not necessarily straightforward monetary values. Below we discuss in more detail.
The Cost of Old Technology
To benefit the most from business software and given how quickly technology changes today, it is important to ensure your inventory system is always up-to-date on the latest version. Most vendors cover annual upgrades as part of their maintenance package, but this can vary significantly from one vendor to the next. With outdated systems, physical equipment and hardware are hard to find that is compatible with old technology which makes it difficult to purchase new computers and find replacement parts. What happens when you hire a new employee but new computers and devices no longer support the technology of your existing system? Aside from not being able to purchase new equipment, supporting old technology is frequently much more expensive for IT companies and software vendors. A simple issue, which would normally be resolved in 5 or 10 minutes on a current version, might end up taking several hours on a really old version, as a support tech tries to:
- Get the old version installed on a computer
- Load the appropriate old development tools
- Free up a technician who still remembers how to work with the old tools, and finally,
- Work on the issue in question
The Cost of Lost Opportunities
With modern technology comes changing supply chain operations, customer needs, and new functionality. Sophisticated inventory software includes features such as advanced accounting, landed cost tracking, eCommerce, and barcode scanning to provide businesses with an all-in-one solution. Live data in real-time inventory systems ensure customers and suppliers have access to the information they need when they need it, such as inventory quantities, customer order information and account details. Cloud-based solutions provide new opportunities for sales reps, employees, and management, allowing them to easily work remotely and access the system from anywhere they have an internet connection. This provides new opportunities for sales reps to place orders for customers while on site or at a tradeshow, using live data, which eliminates the need to manually enter orders and make changes back in the office. Remote access also gives employees and management the opportunity to work from home or on the road when they aren’t able to come into the office (think about the employee whose kid is sick at home, or who themselves is feeling a little under the weather or who would like the perk of being able to work remotely a couple of times a week/month). Lastly, maintaining on-premises systems in-house requires dedicated IT staff and the focus of internal employees – who instead could be directing their efforts on building customer relationships and selling product.
The Cost of Lost Productivity
Every new generation of technology will have its own security issues to worry about and many old systems are not designed to handle the threats of today’s industry. When an issue does arise, this makes it more difficult to find support and implement a fix. Productivity suffers as employees are stuck coming up with workarounds and designing new features to address issues and functionality requirements. Advanced inventory software provides built-in opportunities for automation – such as the ability to automatically change a status, email a report or invoice, pull a list of contacts, create a report based on inventory items etc. and eliminates the need to hire additional staff by automating administrative tasks.