Outdated ERP Systems That Organizations Need to Replace ASAP

Written By: Eric Kimberling
Date: January 11, 2023

When evaluating your enterprise systems for the 2020s and beyond it's important to look at the ERP systems you have in place now and understand whether or not those systems are worth investing in or whether or not you should replace those systems. What are the systems you should be replacing in the 2020's? That's what we want to talk about here today.

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As we're helping clients evaluate and define their digital strategieshttps://www.thirdstage-consulting.com/ and road maps for the 2020's and beyond, one of the things we help our clients do is look at the systems they have in place, the incumbent systems they have in place and understand whether or not they should be upgrading those systems, investing more time and money in those systems or whether or not they should be replacing those systems as part of their longer term roadmap.

What we want to do today is talk about the top five systems that are quickly becoming obsolete and if you're using any of these top five systems that we recommend you replace, we suggest that you look at other options and perhaps define a road map to help move away from those technology systems.


First on our list is SAP ECC. If you're using SAP ECC or any of the even older systems of SAP’s like R/3 or R/2, then you want to make sure that you're looking for a way to move on to newer systems.

Part of the reason for this is because SAP recently announced that they were going to discontinue support for ECC and essentially force their customers off of ECC by 2025. In our opinion, this is somewhat of a ploy by SAP, which in some ways has backfired in the industry but it's a ploy to try to get their customers that are on the old legacy, on-premise system, to migrate to the newer S/4HANA platform that is going to eventually be fully cloud-based. 

However, that doesn't mean that it's necessarily the right path for SAP customers. Although most SAP customers we work with end up going in with an SAP mentality in terms of what system they implement to replace ECC or one of the other legacy SAP products, it may or may not be the best fit for you. In the case of SAP S/4HANA, you want to make sure that you understand that it's a completely different system. You want to make sure that you're looking for a way off of the ECC platform so that you have a more sustainable, long-term, viable product for your digital strategy and transformation needs.

Microsoft AX & Microsoft GP

Next on our list is Microsoft AX and Microsoft GP, otherwise known as Great Plains. If you're using either of these two systems, it's highly likely that you need to move off these systems, largely because Microsoft is pushing heavily into D365. D365 or Dynamics 365, is Microsoft's newer, cloud-based solution that they're investing heavily in and they're really banking their future on this flagship product. Now, originally Microsoft had defined 2025 as the deadline for its Great Plains customers to get off that platform but there was such a big backlash in the Microsoft community that they walked that back and extended that end of life time frame to 2028. Even if Microsoft determines that they're going to extend the timeline beyond 2028, it's still a situation where they're not investing in the product and most of their R&D dollars are going into Dynamics 365. For that reason, it's important that if you're a Microsoft legacy customer using AX or Great Planes, it's important that you think about a strategy to transition off those legacy platforms onto either Microsoft D365 or any of the other many non-microsoft products that are out there in the marketplace.

JD Edwards

Next on the list of the top ERP systems that you should think about replacing now is JD Edwards. This might be the most controversial one on our list because JD Edwards has a community and customer base of fanatics, people that just love the product. JD Edwards is a product that was highly successful in it's heyday.

It was built largely for mid-size manufacturing organizations and a lot of organizations still use JD Edwards. JD Edwards, which is owned by Oracle, has a bit more runway before its end of life. Oracle has defined 2033 as the year that they'll stop providing support for the product and even though 2033 is years away, it's another situation where you don't necessarily want to be on a product that Oracle is backing away from.

Oracle is clearly betting on the future of Oracle Cloud ERP and so again, it becomes a matter of where do you want to invest in technology, in the future, in a product that's going to go away in the not too distant future or one that is being heavily invested in now. If and when you do migrate away from JD Edwards, it's important to recognize that if you do go to an Oracle based product that's one of the more flagship products like Oracle Cloud ERP, that's going to be a total re-implementation of technology.

For JD Edwards customers, we typically recommend that you look at all your options in the marketplace, especially if you're in the manufacturing space, there's a lot of really good options for ERP systems that can provide similar capabilities as JD Edwards. There will never be another JD Edwards for those of you that are big fans of the product. So, if you're using JD Edwards, it's probably time to think about how do we move away from that product and onto something that's more sustainable in the longer term.

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Over the years Infor has bought a number of different legacy products and that's largely what has fueled their growth. Two of the products they acquired over the years have been Lawson and Baan and there's still a lot of companies out there using both of these products. Baan primarily in the manufacturing space, Lawson in the public sector, services industries, financial services and other types of industries. They're both great products, they both had their run but both products like many of the others we talked about on our list, are being sunset. R&D dollars are being siphoned away from these products into the flagship Infor Cloud Suite set of solutions. If you're using Lawson or Baan, those are two systems you definitely want to think about moving away from, especially Baan, because Baan has been losing momentum for years now and over time there's less and less people that really know this product and Infor is investing less and less time and money in this product.


Last on our list is any sort of AS400 based application you might be using. Believe it or not, there are still a lot of organizations that use their AS400 green screen applications, the really old school technologies that were deployed in the 80s and 90s. Even though AS400 is stable, the reality is is the system is dying, the platform is dying, so there's less RPG programmers out there. RPG is the programming language required to maintain applications on the AS400. 

If you're using an AS400 based platform, chances are very high you’re having difficulty finding people that are still around, still working that can program and help support this product. If you're on the AS400 or any sort of AS400 application, it's probably time to start thinking about how you move off that platform and into a more modern type of ERP system.

If you are looking to strategize an upcoming transformation or are looking at selecting an ERP system, we would love to give you some insights. Please contact me for more information eric.kimberling@thirdstage-consulting.com

Be sure to download the newly released 2023 Digital Transformation Report to garner additional industry insight and project best practices.

Kimberling Eric Blue Backgroundv2
Eric Kimberling

Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.

Eric Kimberling
Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.
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