Epicor Kinetics 2021.1

Epicor Kinetics 2021.1 (previously known as Epicor 11, or E11) is now available in a general release phase, meaning that now is a good time for all organizations to begin thinking about their upgrade cycle and the planning required to successfully complete the project.

Since the announcement in March of the release of Epicor’s newest software, we have had an opportunity to learn more about this new product. Since that time, Epicor has announced a new naming format that fits with the new user interface and browser-based functionality – with the departure from their past model of software, it makes sense for a new name to be part of the package as well. Initially rolled out to cloud users, the on-premise version is now available along with the hardware requirements for this newest version, allowing for all organizations to begin planning upgrade projects.

Building on the new Kinetics User Interface (UI) that has slowly been releasing through the later versions of E10, Kinetics 2021.1 is meant to be run entirely in a browser, increasing the ease of use of the software and the mobility to access it from almost anywhere. For brand new users to Epicor, this may be exciting news – however, for long term customers apprehensive about the change required by their users to learn a new UI, as well as what it means for any customizations in their current systems, this may not seem like a great benefit.

So how should organizations on older versions of Epicor ERP 10 consider upgrading to Kinetics 2021.1?  Like any version of Epicor software, there is a lifecycle to the product, and ERP 10 will eventually no longer be supported. Kinetics 2021.1 does currently support the classic/modern interface, and classic updates will be available for 2 years after the release of Kinetics 2021.1, giving users time to adjust to the Kinetics 2021.1 forms. Although the software has just been released, and organizations’ upgrade cycles may not include upgrading immediately to a new release, now is the time to begin creating an upgrade plan. An upgrade is a large project to undertake that requires resources from across an organization.  Even if an upgrade is not to be started for another 6 months or a year, making sure it is a priority within the organization by including it in the strategic plan and has committed resources, will help ensure the success of the project. The planning process can begin to communicate the proper resources that will be necessary (time, people, hardware, etc.) – with some of the considerations being resources required for testing, updating configurations, learning the new interface, training users, etc. System administrators can get a head start on learning the new software by working through Epicor Learning Center courses to become familiar with the format and functionality. Organizations and project managers should expect the upgrade to be an intensive process and plan accordingly. This is also a great time to look at customizations that may have been in place for years and determine if they are still necessary for the business to operate or if there is now built-in functionality that can be utilized.

Epicor has also made the upgrading process from ERP 10 to Kinetics easier by including the auto-conversion of classic customizations to a Kinetic layer. The results of these conversions are displayed within a dashboard and will state whether the customization was converted fully, partially, or not at all. Using this tool as part of the upgrade testing process can help determine the amount of effort that will be required before go live to have the system functional for all users. Those customizations that were partially upgraded, or not at all, will need work done within Application Studio to get them ready for use in a live environment.

Besides the need to handle the upgrading of customizations, what else is new in Kinetics 2021.1? Many of the add-on support software, such as Quick Ship, ECM and Advanced Project Management have also had updates in conjunction with the newest release of the main product. Epicor’s MES is now known as Data Collection and has received major updates to the UI based on the user feedback to changes made in ERP 10. The Data Collection form can now be easily personalized or customized using Application Studio, allowing for organizations to make it as streamlined as possible for their users.

Many ERP 10 users are well-versed in navigating the system with the ‘right-click’ functionality. In Kinetics 2021.1, the need to maneuver to various screens to find additional information has been lessened by including related information on other panels within the same form. Instead of moving between Order Entry and Order Tracker, for instance, within Order Entry information on shipments, invoicing, etc. can all be found embedded within the same form. 

The Application Studio has also had multiple enhancements since its introduction in ERP 10. It is easier to use and maintain compared to customizations and BPMs and now has ‘IntelliSense’ on many of the fields – making the process of creating a new layer even more intuitive and user friendly by allowing for type-ahead like functionality when entering variables or field names.

While this newest software release may look nothing like ERP 10, the methods surrounding processing data have not really changed. Staying current with the Epicor software platform provides a multitude of benefits to an organization, and while a perceived major change such as the new Kinetics User Interface can appear daunting, with good planning and effort an upgrade can be successful. There are many resources available to help an organization through the upgrade process and EpicWeb is a good place to start. Also feel free to contact Teccweb for information on the upgrade services we can provide.

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Epicor Kinetics 2021.1
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