Five trends that define the future of ERP
Future Trends in ERP Systems
As the business environment changes, the processes become more complex, the number of regulations increase, competition becomes fiercer, and customers’ expectation rise. The overall impact of these changes is on business operations, which need to become more efficient. The major implication is on the ERP systems of organizations that manage the day-to-day activities. Specifically, the advancements in technology are bringing an evolution in the enterprise resource planning solutions.
A bright future of ERP is round the corner and hence, the business processes will improve for the better. In this article, we look at the future trends in web enabled ERP and desktop ERP systems. The five future trends in ERP systems that will make them more usable, efficient, and effective for business operations are as follows:
Future Trends in Web Enabled ERP Systems
Cloud ERP solutions
In the current business environment, which calls for cloud-based solutions, there is already a shift happening to cloud ERP solutions. Specifically, the small and medium business entities, which had not made the shift yet, are demanding a quick change. The key benefit of cloud ERP solutions is no requirement to manage an in-house infrastructure; everything is available in the cloud. You can easily access your business applications from any location at any time. The cloud vendor providing the cloud ERP software handles all the updates, upgrades, and support services required for the cloud ERP. Thus, cloud ERP software reduces your upfront costs of hardware or data server requirements, saves your money from being spent on maintenance of the applications, and reduces your reliance on IT support services. Furthermore, you have a strong backup for your data in the form of cloud storage, which also keeps your data safe and secure from server attacks.
Blockchain, also referred to as Distributed Ledger Technology is defined as the digital record of transactions. With the centralization of all business data because of the ERP software, all the business operations are conducted seamlessly, leading to more efficiency. However, integration with the blockchain can improve the value generated from ERP systems. It will transform the business operations for the better by enabling functioning in a unified ecosystem and adding more flexibility and security. Specifically, when two different functions need the same data, blockchain-based ERP systems can make it possible. It enables mapping and linking of transactions between two parties, functions, or processes and making them accessible for better use. The integration of enterprise resource planning with blockchain technology will enable a secure centralization of the business processes through workflow management. For example, such integration helps in sharing the data of raw materials between different departments to make the process of the supply chain seamless and automated.
Internet of Things
Internet of things (IoT) is defined as the network of things such as sensors, software, systems, and other technologies to exchange data amongst each other over the Internet. If IoT is adopted for ERP systems, the ERP solutions will contribute more to the business processes with their intelligence and flexibility. You can generate better insights, which can be used to manage the processes such as supply chain or performance of a machine with more efficiency. Another benefit of IoT-enabled ERP systems is the real-time alerts generated, which make the communication process more efficient and updated.
For example, IoT-enabled devices link the ERP systems to other machines or vehicles so that the user can easily access the data generated from the latter. This data may relate to the performance of the machine or usage statistics, giving the user a better idea of whether a repair is required or if the machine is unused.
The addition of artificial intelligence (AI) will make the ERP systems more useful for strategic decision makers. The influence of AI on ERP systems results in a reduction in operating expenses, elimination of possible human errors, and streamlining the standard, duplication tasks. For example, AI allows identifying customer behavior by understanding what customer segments are purchasing what categories of products. Such analysis can influence the marketing heads in designing customized marketing strategies for each customer segment depending on the customer behavior and hence, achieve more sales.
Business intelligence (BI) makes the ERP systems more insightful by giving a clear picture of the past and present operations of the business. BI collates data, analyses, and generates insights that are useful to make plans and strategize for better productivity. With the availability of real-time, accurate, and reliable data whenever needed, senior management can make more informed decisions. Furthermore, BI-enabled ERP systems help you to generate customized reports based on the factors you select and in the manner you want, thereby obtaining insights on every possible data point affecting the business operations. The key features of BI such as interactive dashboards, data visualization, predictive analytics, and reporting enable the generation of better insights and more business sense from ERP systems.
With the above-mentioned new trends and implications of other technologies such as big data analytics and wearables in the reinvention of business processes, ERP’s benefits to the businesses will surge. Many new technologies are in exploration to find new ways of application in business processes to leverage the maximum benefits from them. The aim remains the same – to save time, to reduce costs, to lessen the possibility of human errors, and hence, to increase productivity. With enhanced use of AI in business applications, the future of ERP looks bright.
Furthermore, these technologies and innovations in enterprise resource planning require businesses to be better prepared for adopting the new ERP suites. They must be ready to implement the new systems and conduct relevant training required for the employees to adapt to the new features. They must find new applications of such rich ERP systems in their business processes to make the most of them for business agility and efficiency. However, we still need to see how these new technologies-enabled ERP systems transform the IT strategy of organizations.
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