Love It or List It with Visual ERP

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy the HGTV Show “Live It or List It”. If you haven’t seen the show, the premise is that a couple has been living in their home for many years and it needs updating. To make good TV, one spouse loves the house and doesn’t want to move. The other spouse detests the house and wants to move immediately to some place ultimately better.

In come the hosts of the show, a designer and a real estate agent. The designer has the challenge to renovate the house based on a laundry list of improvements, which sometimes does involve a new laundry room 😊. She has a set budget, so there is definitely give and take. The real estate agent has the challenge of finding the new house with an entire list of cool features.

At the end of the show, the couple has to decide, are they going to “Love It or List It?” “Love it” means they are happy with the renovations so they now have their dream home. “List It” means that the renovations didn’t cut it and they are going to pack up and move so they are listing their current house.

You may be wondering, what does this have to do with Visual ERP? Well, here we go. At a recent Canadian User’s Group meeting, we had a panel discussion about upgrading your Visual ERP database versus reimplementing. This reminded me of the show. An upgrade in Visual ERP is- you take your existing database and upgrade it to run on the newer version of the software. Like the home renovation, you take what you have and you make some improvements by getting the newest version of Visual. With your upgrade you have new features and functions in Visual. Just like that spanking new laundry room. The upgrade is the “Love It” option.

Reimplementation in Visual ERP is creating a brand-new database, typically using the most recent version of Visual ERP. In this case not only do you get the new features and functions, but you get a new database with only current information. Reimplementations can vary significantly. 

  • There is the option to keep all the existing maintenance files and reload your balances. Think of this as the “Clean Out Your House” option. INFOR has a new tool that can do just that. 
  • The other option is a total revamp. Or let’s call it “A Do Over”. You take the time to not only “clean out your house” but you also look to see what serves you and what doesn’t. Do you still keep the same Product Codes, GL accounts etc.?  Or do you revamp them or any of the other maintenance files? Think of this like your initial implementation but now you and your company know so much more about how Visual ERP works.

No matter which way you go for a reimplementation, this is the “List It” option. You are throwing in the towel and realize that your Visual database would be better if you started over. There could be a variety of reasons:

  1. The business has changed either new products, direction, management team and/or significant growth. (With a house think – an expanded family).
  2. There is too much clutter. You could have millions of transactions plus old/inactive parts, customers, vendors and GL accounts. Not to mention Shop Resources, Terms, Sales Reps, units of measure and the list goes on. Just like your house, too much stuff. Reimplementation or moving gives you the chance to purge all the old unnecessary crap.

You can get rid of the things that haven’t been used in years that are hidden in the closet (or the database).

Now here’s where the similarity to the show diverges. You have to decide if you are going to “Love It” (upgrade) or “List It” (reimplementation) before you see the results, not after. You have to use people’s vision of what things will look like. Different people in the company will be in different camps. Just like the married couple, there will be different points of view.

To give you an idea, let’s envision that you are eavesdropping on the management meeting. The President starts: “The purpose of this meeting is to determine if we upgrade our Visual ERP to the latest and greatest version or whether we reimplement as part of the project to get on most recent version and change the data in our Visual ERP database at the same time. I would like to hear from all of you”.

Alex, the accountant, starts: “An upgrade is going to take less time and cost less money than a reimplementation. I think just getting the new functionality is good enough”.

Olivia from Operations announces: “Hold it a minute, Alex, you are only seeing your accounting side. We have so much old data in the system it takes forever to find what we are really looking for. There is so much clutter. I hate clutter whether it is in the plant, Visual or on my desk”.

Paula from Purchasing pipes up: “I don’t want to lose my purchase history. I look at it all the time. No way do I want to reimplement”.

Irwin from IT gives his two cents: “Yes, the reimplementation will make the database smaller, but again it is going to be a lot of work for my team”. The IT guy can always see both sides of the coin. 

Becky, the business analyst, bursts out: “It sure would make reporting and analysis easier if we take this opportunity to clean up all the bad data in the database. And trust me there is a lot of bad data. My vote is reimplementation”.

The president has been sitting back listening. Taking it all in. “Thanks everyone for your input. Lots of valid points. I have been listening intently. After much thought, I have decided … we are going to L … It”.

Okay – you decide which way you think your company should go. Will you “Love it or List It”?