Upgrading to Kinetics 2021.1

Kinetics 2021.1, Epicor’s newest version of its ERP software, has been available for general release since June 2021. With several updates already released (the current version available is 2021.1.9), the bugs and idiosyncrasies that can come with a new software release are quickly being addressed. Whether it is because your organization has a regular upgrade cadence in place, or you are looking to upgrade due to a current version entering sustaining support, now is a good time to begin planning an upgrade to Kinetics 2021.1.

Hardware Requirements

For organizations wishing to keep their ERP system on-premises, Epicor has documentation available on EpicWeb to help determine the hardware required to get the best performance out of the software.  Find information in the ‘Kinetic Architecture Guide’ on best practices for various server configurations, as well as strategies related to network protocol bindings, authentication options, security requirements, and more. The ‘Kinetic Hardware Sizing Guide’ provides more in-depth details on Hardware Sizing and Application Usage Load Expectations broken out by number of users and amount of transactional data expected. An important step to remember is to factor in future organizational growth, both user and transactional, to ensure that your environment continues to perform well, particularly during periods of growth. Search for these documents in EpicWeb for more details. Many can be found by navigating to: Products > Kinetic/ERP > Documentation > On-premises and expanding the Installation Guide Deliverable under Release: 2021.1.

Epicor currently recommends that all server operating systems be Windows Server 2019 and SQL Server 2017 Standard Edition. For client machines, the recommended configuration is Windows 8 or Windows 10 with 2.8Ghz processor or higher. For small organizations (e.g. up to 15 users), 1 physical server may be all that is required to handle the Kinetics application, Epicor Web Access (EWA) and Enterprise Search (ES). The expectation at this size is that no more than 25,000 transactions would occur in any one-hour period of a working day. There are caveats to this scenario and all others, so it is important to read through the documentation to understand how the unique features of your environment may impact hardware requirements, as well as determine the recommended configuration for larger organizations.

Going through the Upgrade Process

Two tools available during the upgrade process can help determine the effort that will be required to move to the new Kinetic framework. After an initial upgrade pass, the information gathered through the tools can be used to place priorities on work required to make customizations Kinetic friendly or perhaps decide which ones may not be worth trying to create into a Kinetic layer. These may be customizations that stay in the classic format short term while a plan is created to either build a new customization based in Kinetics or determine if there are processes available in the software that could be used instead. This tool has now been enhanced so that, once run against a current production environment, it will report out statuses of classic customizations into three categories – Kinetic UX Compatible, Kinetic UX Re-Work, and Kinetic UX Not Available. A second tool, the Configuration Upgrade Dashboard, allows a user to review the status of customizations converted into Kinetic UX layers to see where there may have been issues during the automatic conversion. From here, updates to the Kinetic layer can occur through Application Studio to ensure the customization is working appropriately. 

Moving to the newest version of Kinetics is now even easier for organizations on much older versions of the software – for example, Epicor ERP 9 users can now upgrade directly from 9.05 without needing to be at a certain release, and Vantage and Vista users can utilize the upgrade tools once at version 8.03.305. Gone is the need to upgrade to each major version (for Vantage/Vista users, having to upgrade to ERP 9.05, before upgrading to newer versions) making the process easier to manage. Be sure to look for the Epicor Kinetic 2021.1 Release Guide on EpicWeb for more details on the upgrade process for older versions of Epicor software.

Maintaining Support Status

One of the most important reasons to consider an upgrade is to ensure that an organization is getting the most out of the software in which they have invested. To be able to utilize Epicor support for issues encountered in the software, as well as be able to apply patches and upgrade to new releases to gain advantage of bug fixes and new functionality, an organization needs to stay on active support. Epicor has a very easy to understand support lifecycle which can be found on EpicWeb under Resources > Upgrade and Migration. As of May 2021, Epicor ERP 10.2.400 and any earlier version is in sustaining support. Coming up in October 2021, version ERP 10.2.500 will be entering sustaining support. Upgrades can take months of planning and testing to be successful, and because software versions reach the end of the support lifecycle two years after release, it is important to have an upgrade cadence built into an organization’s multi-year strategic plan. To put it in context, to stay on active support, all ERP 10 users will need have upgraded to Kinetics 2021.1 by October 2022 – only a little over a year away.

The amount of information relating to an upgrade can be overwhelming, but there are many resources available to help ease the process. Some options include teaming up with Epicor Professional Services, an Epicor Sales or Services Partner, or having a strong internal IT team take ownership of the project. If working with an external resource, an important distinction between service providers is whether they are Epicor Certified. Working with a certified partner ensures access to Epicor-provided support and tools and does not put an organization’s active support status with Epicor in question. To learn more, check out our previous blog post on ‘How Do You Choose a Partner to Help with Your Epicor ERP Software?’ 

Teccweb, Ontario’s Premier Services Partner, has undertaken hundreds of successful upgrades using Epicor’s Signature Methodology. With an Epicor certified partner on your team, advising you from planning through go-live, you can be assured that your upgrade will be successful too.

If you would like to learn more about Teccweb’s approach to upgrading, please contact us.

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