Occasionally, companies will stay on legacy solutions that prove to be reliable over a long period of time. One of these is the AS/400, a system that IBM released in 1988, though it’s been updated several times since. The AS/400 has a DOS-like interface and requires two types of experts: those who know how to program it, and those who know how to use it.
It’s not extremely user friendly, as can be seen, and compared to the interfaces of today’s software, is reminiscent of a bygone era. As technology becomes more advanced, users expect a simpler experience. Also, since IBM has retired the system, finding qualified people to either program or use it, becomes increasingly difficult.
Because of these difficulties then, companies on the AS/400 may find themselves rooted to their existing state of software. If they want to add new features to their ERP system, and making these modifications is difficult for them, they may choose not to add them at all.
If the AS/400 has such issues, why are businesses still using it? Well, one reason is that it’s reliable. Companies have stayed with it for a long time because it works, even if it has its defects. In addition, as is the case for any significant IT infrastructure change, the costs of switching can be quite high. If a business has used something for decades, it becomes even more demanding.
And so the questions companies need to ask themselves is:
- Is the current system working for my main needs?
- How much time is spent fixing issues that wouldn’t come up with a modern system?
- How much money am I losing by not adding new features that would increase revenue or make us more efficient?
When we’re talking about a business still using legacy systems, the time it takes to switch systems is relatively short. After all, it has likely used that legacy system for years and years, and maybe even decades, and that dwarfs the period of months or few years it takes to implement a new system.
With those time spans in mind, if the company judges the amount of money it’s losing (over years and years) is greater than the (relatively) short-term cost of finding, implementing, and transitioning to a new ERP system, that’s when it knows it’s time to move on.
If they decide that’s the right plan of action, what are some modern solutions businesses can look at in replacing their AS/400? One option is Odoo, a powerful open-source ERP software. Odoo has over 10,000 apps, and because of its open-source nature, is easily customizable for individual business needs.
Another solution is Oracle+NetSuite, a cloud-based multi-tenant ERP software. NetSuite is used by over 40,000 organizations worldwide. It offers a complete business suite and is especially well-known for its finance tools.
Bista Solutions is a partner with both Odoo and NetSuite, and has implemented ERP software for over a decade, providing hundreds of companies with business solutions. By using an agile approach, Bista can ensure that the product meets the company’s individual needs and successfully manage large implementations. If you have any questions about the AS/400 or want a free consultation for your business, you can reach us through our contact form or at +1 (404)-631-6219.