You’ve taken years to “perfect” your systems. Why “risk” upgrading? Your CRM system gives you the information you need when you need it. Your ERP seems to be managing just fine.

On the other hand, how perfectly have you really perfected them? Perhaps you’re still manually entering parts when they come in because your inventory management software doesn’t know how to read scanners. Your CRM system is telling you how much revenue each client orders but it doesn’t allow you to track ordering trends so you can ensure your just-in-time production really is just in time. And, what if there’s really no “risk” involved?

You need your systems to interface in real time. Don’t fear the upgrade!

Upgrading can:

1) Maintain or gain your competitive advantage: Upgraded systems allow you to stay current with the latest innovations, leveraging increased opportunities. Today, your data center is having enough trouble talking to your branch office, let alone sharing data virtually. (And we won’t even mention the cloud.) Upgrades have features you didn’t consider 5-10-20 years ago. Being able to create enterprise mobile apps allows you to benefit from the BYOD environment.

2) Ensure system compatibility: Yes, those desktop computers using Windows 97 still work fine. Meanwhile, your sales team is demanding the latest and greatest half-pound (1/4 kilo) model with Windows 8. Any time the sales team needs to send an order back to the factory, they need to download it and save it in a format that the warehouse computers can understand. Wouldn’t you prefer the sales people focus on selling?

3) Streamline processes to increase business efficiency: We’re not stressing ROI here, we’re simply talking about eliminating the hassle factor so your employees can do what they were hired to do, instead of using their time to work around antiquated systems. Also, I’ll say it even if you don’t want to hear it: Stop being lazy. When you rely on old business processes simply because they still work, they are probably not the best solutions.

4) Reduce your technical risk: Software life cycle management is how companies ensure they can always support the latest versions. If you don’t upgrade, that support goes away. When your ERP company is already up to version 7.2, and you’re using version 2.5, you’re very alone in the world. Also, with each upgrade, you benefit from not only new features, but upgrades within the underlying OS, often increasing hardware efficiency and ultimately reducing operating costs.

5) Make your lawyers happy: Corporate data theft is no longer an if, it’s a when. Your old systems are very, very easy to hack into, as security wasn’t so much an issue “in the good old days.” Wouldn’t your customers be thrilled to know that you were the source of their credit card fraud and identity theft?

We know that the idea of an upgrade is sometimes intimidating. You don’t think you have the budget or the time and don’t want to risk any system outages. Besides, your upgrade pain reduces significantly if you’ve already taken a practical approach to integration. Even with upgrading, integration is maintained across versions without having to rewrite your integration flow.

Remember, too, the sales engineers at your vendors have seen it all. They’re in the trenches every single day, seeing what happens when an ERP system is on version 1.2 and the CRM system (under a different IT manager) is on version 6.65a. Their whole raison d’etre is to help you.

Why not have the latest versions of everything, fully upgraded, when there’s no risk involved?