"Rip & Replace" isn't pleasant, especially in the supply chain world

"Rip & Replace" isn't pleasant, especially in the supply chain world

Posted on September 26, 2011 0 Comments

Picture the following: you are on a long haul flight from Sydney to London, because you have status you were able to get a seat in Business Class. You settle down nicely for your flight, stretch out, maybe have a glass of champagne and some mixed nuts. 3 hours into your flight you see the crew exit the plane, walk on the wing and start unscrewing the engine...how would that make you feel? Maybe that someone slipped something into that champagne. However that is what it is like when companies try to replace software systems in the middle of every day business. This is even more apparent when it comes to the supply chain space. The systems that sustain your supply chain have DIRECT impact on either your suppliers, distributors, customers, partners, just to name a few of the entities impacted. Yet, systems constantly evolve, improve and get more powerful. So what to do when it comes to upgrade or replace systems to get the most out of existing infrastructure and applications?

The first option is that you take out the systems and replace them with new systems. Painful, business does not stop while you take the time to take off line your systems and then subsequently have to implement, train and being utilizing the new systems. Your second option is to stick with your existing systems and constantly add new systems, patchwork style, to address your supply chain needs. This also adds complexity and lag to your ability to address your business needs. A recent article in the Supply Chain Management Review, mentions the importance of being flexible in the volatile world we work in. This remains a challenge when you rely on legacy systems and other applications that are not seamless tied together. Invariably, supply chains and enterprises must evolve and add greater functionality to their systems, otherwise they will be passed by more flexible supply chains.

So what to do? Supply chains and enterprises need to seek solutions that enhance their existing infrastructures. Solutions that can starting tying together all the applications and technology investments they have made over the past decades. The reality is, businesses must continue to lean on their existing systems to ensure business keeps moving forward. In parallel they need to determine if there are applications and systems that can make what they already own better. Applications in the cloud or those that can layer on top of existing infrastructures are two methods of delivery that can allow these organizations to enhance existing systems without the down time and pain of rip and replace.

Can you afford to take down time for systems overhauls?

Guy Courtin

View all posts from Guy Courtin on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.


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