Dreading your next ERP Upgrade? Orchid’s modules are like a bridge over troubled waters.

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With the release of Sage 300 v2019 just around the corner, many of our business partners and users will be turning their attention to the planning and execution of yet another round of ERP upgrades.

If the thought of this gets your nerves tingling, you may take some small comfort from knowing you are far from alone. CIO magazine recently published an article on "the 6 most dreaded IT projects" . ERP implementations & upgrades not only made the shortlist…they were described as having been the posterchild of IT project failure in recent years!

There is no shortage of candidates for “what could possibly go wrong”, but there are two regularly recurring themes in just about any analysis:

  • Customization: Another CIO magazine article talks about the danger of over-customization, and how this can become an impediment to future ERP upgrades if there is a perceived risk that all those hard-won custom enhancements will be lost.

    An ERP Solutions Review article called "The Top 5 Warning Signs of an ERP System Failure” also discussed this age-old dilemma: Customization will add time, risk and cost to an ERP implementation, but lack of customization can severely compromise the operation of your business. (We covered this in some depth in our recent news article on Tailoring your ERP System.)
  • Integration: While ERP salespeople may spruik “whole of business solutions”, this is seldom the reality. It’s pretty much inevitable that you’ll need to continue to rely on other applications outside your ERP system - but ideally tightly integrated with it.

    The ERP Solutions Review article referred to above also listed ‘"lack of integration ability" amongst its top 5 warning signs, quoting the risks associated with data redundancy and the dangers of information silos. Their take-home message: “Make sure your ERP can be easily integrated.” (The recent Orchid article on Collaboration also touched on the issue of silos.)

    Of course, any requirement for integration implies the need for further customization, and so the cycle goes…
Orchid modules - A bridge over troubled waters
Suspension Bridge

With 25 years of experience working with Sage 300 (and its precursor, Accpac), Orchid Systems understands these issues and risks only too well.

That’s why we decided from the outset that Orchid add-on modules would be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Here are some of the ways that Orchid products take much of the pain out of Sage 300 Upgrades:

  • All Orchid modules are developed in the Sage 300 SDK (Software Development Kit).

    As well as the more obvious benefits of tight integration with the Sage 300 core, this means all custom data used by Orchid modules is stored within the company database. After installing a new version of an Orchid module you simply activate it using the standard Sage 300 process, and your existing custom data is automatically upgraded for compatibility with the current Sage 300 version.
  • Orchid Extender allows you to make version-independent Sage 300 customizations.

    While the breadth of customizations that Extender can support is almost limitless, all of them (including Python scripts) are stored within the Sage 300 company database. This means that when you do a version upgrade the customizations are all carried forward seamlessly, rather than having to be rewritten and re-tested.
  • Extender is also a platform for version-independent integration.

    One of the many uses of Extender is integration, e.g. synchronization of data between Sage 300 and external applications. (See our article about the DIMO Maint Connector for just one example.) Such integrations share all the above-mentioned benefits of Extender customizations when it comes to ease of upgrading.

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800km, one million steps, and seven lessons

Orchid's Nathalie Lesbre recently completed the 800km 'French Way' to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. A million or so steps gave her plenty of time to reflect on how the approach she'd taken to planning and executing this adventure might be applied to major software projects.