In this blog, we outline the technology trends influencing the evolution of ERPs and what you should be considering when looking for a modern ERP solution.
As technology continues to advance quickly, many businesses with traditional ERP software are struggling to adapt fast to keep up with constantly changing customer demand. This is especially true in manufacturing, retail, and wholesale sectors with the ongoing challenges of supply chain management.
When ERP software solutions were first introduced in the 90s, they were designed to help companies become more efficient, interconnected and effective. Today, they are comprehensive tools for businesses of all sizes and industries to manage their operations, a foundational software system that enables the automation and management of core business functions.
And now in its fourth generation, many ERP software solutions focus on usability rather than resources, allowing companies to connect a wider group of audiences and create a more efficient and economical business model.
Gartner’s Senior Director Analyst, Nisha Bhandare says…
By 2023, 65% of organisations will use ERP applications that encompass one or more fourth-era hallmarks.”
It begs the question, what hallmarks!?
Gartner.com’s image above shows that new ERP applications have characteristics that are enabling, customer facing, AI driven, data centric, consumable and people augmented.
That’s quite a menu, so what does all this mean?
New-era ERPs need to be flexible, agile, and recruit emerging technologies rather than being a thing unto itself. Development must be fast; systems need to be scalable, security is paramount, all while using standards for communication between platforms.
Your ERP should help you understand the needs of your customers before your competition does. It should be used to improve customer service and delivery speed, while also providing the traditional internal value of ERP.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
AI will over time alter the ways organisations interact with clients, suppliers, things, applications and each other. Many ERP systems offer predictive analytics, decision support systems, chat bots and the like to help businesses improve the customer experience. To do this the ability to make sense out of huge data stores, will increasingly involve integrating diverse applications.
ERPs will still need to collect, store, and share vast amounts of data. Traditional ERP solutions used to concentrate on processes for quality control and to generate financial data. But in recent years, there is a shift to focus on how we can use this data to improve outcomes.
Have you noticed how mobile phone tech doesn’t come with a manual? You just know how to use it (famously quoted in an iPhone commercial a decade ago – they were onto something). Users become consumers of information; the system is less important than what it can do. Many processes are fundamental and don’t change that much across industries anyway.
ERP systems should help decision making by providing reliable information, not just large amounts of data. This information should be shared and connected with other data sources to gain a complete understanding. Robots and AI haven’t taken over yet and are likely here to help us become more efficient, rather than take over, leaving humans to make the real decisions.
If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re looking for a new ERP. Maybe it’s data silos and disjointed systems making what should be standard processes laborious and error prone? Or maybe you’re trying to find ways of keeping up or moving ahead of your competitors?
SOCO provides a free demonstration of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Find out how this ERP system can help manage and grow your business effectively. Let’s talk.