What is the Maintenance Process for an ERP System: 4 Key Steps

Last Updated: October 20th, 2023
Researched and Written by: Lexi Wood

Regular ERP software maintenance ensures system reliability, improved performance, and data integrity. Here are the best practices for maintaining an ERP system.

What is the Maintenance Process for an ERP System?

The maintenance process for an ERP system can be broken into 4 easy steps:

  1. Establish a schedule for when maintenance is needed to prevent problems.
  2. Document everything with detailed historical records on past maintenance and performance.
  3. Set up testing procedures to discover issues before users do.
  4. Customize security measures to protect your ERP and users.

4 Steps of ERP Maintenance

1 Establish a schedule

Creating a schedule for ERP maintenance is the first step. The best case scenario for most maintenance is to prevent a problem from occurring in the first place. Keeping to a regular maintenance schedule, whether it’s needed or not, is one way to stay ahead of potential issues.

The software vendor likely has their own schedule for releasing patches. If you can base your maintenance around those updates, you can minimize potential performance interruptions.

2 Document everything

Historical records of past maintenance provide ongoing performance patterns which can shape how future updates are handled. For instance, adding a new security patch might take a few hours to complete. The IT department can use that information to schedule the next patch during off-peak hours to prevent service disruption.

Real-time monitoring needs to be documented as well. Unexpected changes in software performance over a short period of time can indicate additional maintenance is needed.

3 Set up testing procedures

A key to ERP maintenance is to repeatedly test and test again. It’s better to discover an issue on your own terms than learn about it second-hand from a user. In-depth testing measures can reveal overall weakness, leading to fixes and better workflow processes.

Regularly testing the ERP solution is also an opportunity to backup the database. Backups should be made before any in-depth testing is done so the system can be restored in the event something goes wrong.

4 Customize security measures

By implementing robust security measures, you can prevent issues which would otherwise require maintenance to fix. All it takes is one missed patch to open up your data to a breach. Stay on top of the developer’s updates and your own internal security practices.

Ways to increase ERP security include:

  • User access control: Limit how much access different users have to the ERP to prevent misuse or human error.
  • User training: Continuous training helps users stay up-to-date on new features and developments. Keep them informed about new practices, and encourage them to change their password!
  • Industry-specific compliance: Meet the safety standards and other requirements set by regulatory authorities. Stay ahead of any changes in regulations.

Maintenance Support Model

The types of ERP maintenance models include:

  • Corrective Maintenance: Also known as “bug fixing”, this type of reactive maintenance is done after an issue has been discovered.
  • Adaptive Maintenance: ERP systems must stay ahead of changes in the industry, such as new compliance standards. This maintenance focuses on adapting an ERP based on evolving processes.
  • Perfective Maintenance: This model focuses on improving the ERP system’s performance without addressing specific issues or defects. This might involve adding new features or changing user interfaces based on feedback.
  • Preventive Maintenance: This type of maintenance involves regular and planned activities, such as routine system checks and software updates, to ensure the system remains reliable and secure.

Of these models, preventive maintenance is the ideal for minimizing potential service disruptions. Having a maintenance schedule in place makes this possible. And maintaining detailed records on past maintenance can help with the other methods as well.

ERP Maintenance Challenges

Budget Limitations

Balancing maintenance expenses with other IT and business priorities can be a constant challenge, especially for smaller organizations or those with tight budgets. Organizations must allocate funds for software updates, patches, hardware upgrades, and IT personnel training.

Limited IT Availability

If IT resources are scarce at your company, finding suitable windows for maintenance can be challenging. And the lack of available IT personnel can result in longer response times and extended system downtime. Either hire an in-house team or ask the ERP vendor about continuous support options.

Third-Party Integration

ERP maintenance efforts must consider the compatibility with any third-party software integrations. Otherwise, a totally secure ERP system might be compromised by a breach in an entirely different software. Any disruptions in these integrations, such as one software offering a new update or patch, can disrupt business operations. Try to incorporate those third-party vendors into your maintenance schedule to minimize these challenges.

User Resistance or Inexperience

Users may resist changes to the ERP system, especially if employees prefer existing processes or legacy systems. This resistance can lead to human errors which can put the company’s data at risk. Maintaining user proficiency through continuous training and support programs is crucial for successful ERP maintenance.

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