Many construction organizations running a legacy business system or sunsetting software, operate under the mantra of, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. While the systems may perform according to your practices of today, there is a strong chance they are also blocking your transformation efforts, adoption of modern construction methods and recruitment of new talent –setting you on the road to nowhere.
There are 5 common dangers construction companies’ risk, in running a legacy ERP system.
Adopting Modern Methods of Construction
In earlier blogs we’ve discussed how the use of modern methods of construction (MMCs) has increased due to their ability to lower costs, increase efficiency and improve quality. For many construction firms MMCs are currently being utilized or are firmly in their plan for the future, however can your business system architecture support adoption of these new methods? MMCs combine elements of construction and manufacturing and this hybrid business requirement is a feature that many systems struggle with, especially in a single solution.
Vital Construction Functionality
One of the major issues with legacy or sunsetting systems is that they no longer have a clear development or support path. This means that if the functionality doesn’t exist now, it probably never will—which means you have no solution to handle subcontract management, asset/equipment management and field service. One option is to look at customizing through external development, however this is only a temporary fix and often a very expensive option.
Best of Breed Integrations
Another danger is the challenge of working with best of breed solutions in areas such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Project Planning. Many of these solutions connect to existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems via API integrations which allow the successful interchange of data. With a legacy ERP system API connection is riskier and often requires a lot more manual processes, data mapping and other customization, user defined fields and others, due to the lack of standard functionality in the ERP system. This can deter you from best of breed solutions and leave you relying on disconnected Excel spreadsheets, which is a major red flag if you are building a single source of truth as a foundation for accurate project costing, planning and estimating.
One of the big red flags is when the business system architecture they’re using doesn’t have a product roadmap. For legacy systems and sunset systems, the roadmap is normally minimal to non-existent, because they’re either unsupported or soon to be unsupported and trying to plan your IT improvements or digital transformation efforts becomes near impossible. Furthermore, if your contract includes recurring maintenance fees, this money spent could be much better spent.
It seems fitting to end on the term which has been one of the biggest trends in construction throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Construction companies need to adapt to survive has highlighted the weaknesses in their legacy and sunsetting systems as they looked to their systems to provide flexibility, agility and scalability. Trying to achieve any form of transformation with one of these systems is like running up a hill wearing an open parachute—the more effort you put in, the harder it gets. All of this can easily be rectified by migrating to something which has your requirements built in as standard.
IFS Cloud for Construction
If any of these dangers resonate with you, IFS Cloud for Construction, launched this year, is the latest system from IFS and contains core construction specific functionality required as standard. It can be deployed on-cloud or on-premise, integrates with best of breed solutions such as Primavera and facilitates best practice and the adoption of MMC.