We upgraded our ERP in 6 hours
We upgraded our ERP in 6 hours
Two years ago, we built our website in one day . Today we upgraded our ERP, Odoo, from version 13 to version 15. It took us 6 hours.
How is this even possible?
ERP upgrades sound like large, costly, and complex projects. For most companies, it is the case. But it was not for us. Here is why our upgrade was easy and almost effortless.
1. Don’t wait for too long
In this very detailed survey , quotes and reasons for changing ERP show that companies wait until their current ERP has become a burden.
We took a different approach. We upgraded our ERP while still pleased with the features, stability, user experience, and cost. We still enjoyed active support from the editor. This was a strategic decision to stay in the area where our ERP brings us value and never venture into the danger zone.
Why did we stay in the safe zone while many companies ventured into the danger zone? It is a virtuous cycle / vicious cycle dichotomy. If you remain in the safe area, your upgrades are simple, fast, and cheap, so you can regularly upgrade (e.g. every 2 years) and stay in the safe zone.
Once you reach the danger zone, the next upgrade will be costly, complex, and dangerous. So you postpone the upgrade, increasing the risk, cost, and complexity.
2. Zero customization
One critical factor that makes ERP upgrades expensive is customization. In the 5 Top Reasons for an ERP Upgrade under the Legacy System section, the fear of losing customization is listed as a reason not to upgrade. The same comment is listed in When and How to Upgrade Your ERP System .
In our case, we had zero customization in our ERP. That allowed us to go through the standard upgrade process with minimal adjustments and a simple test cycle.
Customization is, again, a strategic decision. We took the radical approach of zero customization, which is the best possible value choice. That means we enjoy 100% of our ERP’s benefits, our upgrade costs are minimal, and there is hardly any process change due to the upgrade.
On the other end of the spectrum, a highly customized ERP means more upgrade costs, longer test cycles, and more chances of process changes after the upgrade. This should be factored into the initial ERP deployment. During an ERP deployment, the cost of customization is evaluated as a one-off investment in the new feature. In addition, a fraction of the customization cost is added at every upgrade. So the total cost of customization is way higher than the initial design and implementation cost across the lifetime of enterprise software.
3. Getting help
Being an I.T. consulting company, we have all the resources to research and manage our ERP upgrade ourselves. But that would have been the first and only time for us to upgrade an Odoo from version 13 to 15. The next time we upgrade, in 2 years, the knowledge will be lost, and the upgrade procedure may be different.
Instead, we used an experienced partner to help us with the migration. We hired DevReaction who had performed several upgrades in the past. Their experience was invaluable, and the price to pay for the work done does not reflect the time we saved and the mistakes we avoided. As we performed the upgrade, we got valuable assets to deploy and run our ERP, better than the ones we initially used in our deployment.
4. Dry run
We did a dry run of the entire process a few days before the actual migration. We decided to spend time building the target environment before the migration. We performed the complete migration on this new environment and ran a test plan.
This dry run allowed us to identify any issues related to the upgrade. Anything that we would not have planned or anticipated. There were very few elements to adjust, but that was still helpful in delivering a fast upgrade with a fully functional ERP after only 6 hours on D-Day.
The dry run may seem like an expensive process, but it is the only way to anticipate the outcome of the upgrade. It forced us to have everything ready before the go-live date. It is worth the investment for a perfect result.
5. Key users involvement
We had all the testing done after the dry run. We identified a few issues, easily fixed for the upgrade. This was possible because we involved all the key users in the process. They had the opportunity to review all topics before the actual go-live and get answers before the actual go-live.
An ERP upgrade is not only a technical project. It is a business project. What are the new features that we can enjoy in the version? What process will be different in the upgraded version? Answering these questions before the upgrade is key to the success of the upgrade.
6. Going cloud - Fresh deployment
The upgrade was not the only objective of this project; we were also moving our ERP from an on-premise environment to a cloud deployment. This simplified the migration, as we started with a fresh set-up. Depending on the system’s architecture, it may be good to start with a new deployment instead of performing the upgrade “in place”.
A new deployment will always be cleaner, from the operating system, application stack, and supporting libraries. A new deployment will have only the pre-requisite installed and will not suffer from legacy versions of components.
We now apply the above six principles to all our internal systems upgrades. We even removed customization from one of our systems to simplify and align the processes during its latest upgrade.
This makes all our systems easier to upgrade and allows us to stay updated on all security upgrades.
As a result, application upgrades are not projects anymore but regular maintenance tasks performed against a documented process. Each upgrade is reviewed to update documentation, if needed, ensuring continuous improvement.
If your enterprise systems are not upgraded regularly, you can avoid entering the danger zone and pay a high cost to get out. If you want to lower that risk, and the cost associated with it, contact us for an assessment.
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