How to Future-Proof Your ERP Software

These days, we are urged to “future-proof” almost everything. We are blitzed with suggestions for future-proofing our organizations, our PCs, our TVs, even our diets.

The reason it’s so fascinating, of course, is we would love to know what’s going to happen, but it is not easy to do!

Future-proofing software is doubly difficult. In this article, we try to clear some of the fog, and discuss why it’s important, especially for publishers!

Everything Evolves

Everything constantly evolves. Darwin said it and we believe it – most of us anyway. If you need proof, think back to the publishing industry in 1993. Now think Big Data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, Amazon, sustainability, direct-to-consumer, the list goes on and on. Were any of these examples top of mind just a few years ago? No; and so most publishers were blind-sided when each one barged in and made us wish for a better crystal ball! Publishers are the curators of our culture, and even we did not see these things coming. How much easier it would have been if we could have been ready!

So future-proofing systems is an important concept. The question is how?  Here’s the point. If you want to avoid your information systems becoming “legacy software”, there are things you can do, and they are more to do with platform than just software.

Legacy Software

Nobody sets out to design legacy software, it just gets that way. Legacy solutions begin to fail when the variety of the stored data begins to expand. They were designed to address very specific needs and they all result in “silo-ed” data. These silos are difficult to integrate into newer systems that embrace data from many sources (both internal and external), and are often poorly supported because the skilled resources have long since left. Legacy systems often accumulate in organizations that have no standard approach to technology and don’t use a single technology platform. And a single technology platform alleviates the problem by providing a common repository for data and application software from all sources.

Operating in the Cloud

A key recommendation for future-proofing your information platform is to operate in the cloud. The reason is simple. The cloud is now essential to achieving end-to-end digital transformation, to help publishers reinvent and to take advantage of all available data and applications that are often not practical in-house, given the limitations of on-premises capacity and the required critical mass of technical skills. The cloud is simply better at storing and analyzing masses of data from many potential sources, in various formats, that demand processing scale and flexibility. Without the computing power of the cloud, publishers often can’t develop the information that leads to more insightful business decisions. This is especially true when information requirements change, as is constantly the case in publishing. Large cloud providers manage infrastructure and applications using highly skilled resources. They help users scale up (and down) with ease and offer a much higher level of data security, disaster recovery and ease of upgrade than can be typically provided by on-premise operations.

The Value of Scale

The operating scale of your platform and software suppliers is critical in future-proofing your information systems. Take Microsoft for example. When a team of Danish developers first created the financial application that became Microsoft Navision, it was in the age of floppy disks and monitors the size of small refrigerators. As computing evolved, so did the performance expectations for the software. When Microsoft acquired that same Danish company in 2002, Navision became part of the Microsoft ecosystem and was developed over time into MS Dynamics 365 Business Central. Microsoft realized up-front, that data had to be seamlessly exchanged within and between companies, with robust integration capabilities to facilitate future creation of new business models and processes.

This is precisely why today, Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Business Central software can integrate a variety of automation and AI tools that we could not envisage just a few years ago. Examples include the integration to Shopify, a website creation tool that has the largest e-commerce platform market share in the US. It provides the base for publishers to develop their own Direct-To-Consumer channel. Other examples include the integration of Print-on-Demand capabilities, and KPIs to track the use of sustainably manufactured paper. Microsoft’s goal, then and now, was to make software updates as easy as it is with smartphone apps. This capability allows Microsoft Partners like knk Software to deploy rapid releases that incorporate new technology from both parties, so users can benefit from new features, avoiding obsolescence in the future.

It’s difficult to do all that without scale – the scale of Microsoft’s software development budget, and the scale of Microsoft’s cloud services, Azure. Azure offers a consistent level of cloud service delivery globally. It allows a niched software partner like knk, who are 100% focused on publishing houses and media companies, to focus their efforts on keeping publishing and media industry applications relevant and up to date, while Microsoft is focused on new capabilities that apply to all industries. The combination provides a much lower risk of software and platform obsolescence and a commensurately higher chance of sustainable, continuous and valuable applications to the publisher.


One of the roots of “legacy software” is that it is often dependent on the hardware or operating system on which it was developed and deployed. In some cases, those vendors are no longer supporting those platforms, and no longer upgrading human resources, and so the users’ ability to get support and stay current is severely limited.

Microsoft and knk Software (a 7-time Gold Certified Microsoft Partner) are committed to creating an open platform to help our customers find the right solutions to accelerate and maintain their digital transformation. Innovation begins with data-fueled insights, and more connected operations will allow publishers that use the knkPublishing platform to better meet rapidly changing industry demands.

It amounts to reducing RISK…risk of obsolescence, risk of inaccessibility to computing power for newer applications that provide insight, and loss of development and support. Lower those risks and you will enhance your chances of future-proofing your information systems.


Image by DCStudio on freepik.