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Third Party Support Offers KBM ERP Users a Flexible Path Forward

Posted by Dave Kravitt

Third Party Support Offers KBM ERP Users a Flexible Path ForwardKBM ERP software continues to provide value to hundreds of manufacturers, but finding support for this legacy software is no longer easy.

In this blog, we look at how 3rd party support can help optimize your KBM implementation. A targeted optimization effort can enhance your ERP functionality and fix lingering issues while avoiding the cost and disruption of moving to a new ERP system.


KBM ERP Software Background: A Manufacturing ERP with a Decades-Long Track Record

KBM (Knowledge Based Manufacturing) is a full-featured manufacturing ERP for the Power i (pna AS/400) platform. Originally developed by Data3, it has subsequently changed hands through several ownership groups, moving from Data3, to the ASK group, to Computer Associates (CA) in 1994, where it was offered via the Acacia Technologies business unit. Acacia was eventually sold to SSA Global Technologies, which was in turn acquired by Infor in 2006. 

Despite years of hopping around from one vendor to another, KBM developed a robust user base across this long history. A large number of manufacturing and distribution organizations continue to depend on a KBM ERP implementation to this day. Way back in 2005, KBM was perceived as being in limbo, on the verge of the “ERP Graveyard.” But today, 16 years later, it’s still alive and kicking. 

Infor, however, has long pulled back to providing only maintenance level support for KBM systems. All the way back in 2012, IT Jungle noted that “customers running older manufacturing-focused ERP systems, like PRISM, PRMS, and KBM, have not seen any meaningful updates in years, and likely never will.” Even then, they noted that “KBM users are becoming more vocal about the lack of a future under Infor.”

Nine years later, however, a substantial number of manufacturers are sticking with KBM. Why? Because, in our experience working with a variety of legacy IBM i-based ERP systems, it often makes good business sense to stick with their existing ERP system. If the software is meeting your basic business needs, the expense, risk, and disruption of a major ERP replacement effort simply aren’t worth it.

For manufacturers that prefer to stick with their KBM solution, expert third-party ERP support provides a valuable path forward.

Why Third Party Support Can Be So Valuable for Manufacturers Who Use KBM ERP Software

For organizations that depend on business-critical legacy systems like KBM, third party support offers some valuable strategic advantages. A quality third party ERP support provider should be able to offer:

  1. The ability to add new functionality, utilize untapped modules and fix long-standing issues, even if the vendor is no longer providing major updates. 
  2. The flexibility to make your own decisions on the best path forward for business-critical ERP software: the software vendor’s roadmap need not dictate your own IT strategy.
  3. A team of technology-specific experts that would otherwise be difficult to hire (knowledgeable experts on legacy systems become rarer by the day) and cost-prohibitive to maintain in-house.

Collectively, these capabilities mean that manufacturers can avoid making an unnecessary ERP upgrade simply to maintain vendor support. They ensure that your ERP can continue to adapt to new challenges and provide the most value possible for your business. 

An update like IBM i 7.4 is a great example of the sort of challenge that can prove problematic without the right support team in place. While this update provides valuable new security functionality, it also creates new compatibility issues for SQL databases (we explore this issue in greater depth in our blog here). This is precisely the sort of issue that can be easy to navigate with the help of an expert support team but extremely disruptive if the potential problem goes unrecognized until too late.

Learn More About KBM ERP Optimization from PSGi

PSGi has extensive experience supporting businesses that rely on business-critical ERP applications running on IBM i/Power i.

Whether it’s working to maximize the full potential of your KBM software, integrating third-party apps with new functionality, or simply providing reliable support, the PSGi team can help get the most out of your ERP.

If you’ve considered abandoning your legacy KBM ERP, we suggest considering the value of an ERP revitalization effort instead. Our whitepaper here takes a look at how this approach can improve system flexibility and productivity without a full replacement (and when you really do need to replace a legacy system). Reach out to us with any questions. 

 

Tags: Extending ERP System Life, Maximize ERP Investment, ERP Blog, ERP