In the modern age, people won’t let inflexible system solutions get in the way of holistic digital transformation. This is true for most of them, including enterprise resource planning or ERP software. In this light, keeping up with the latest ERP trends is beneficial to consumers and service providers alike.
Our collection of ERP statistics shows that the market for these tools is growing, adoption is increasing, and innovation is slowly but surely happening. The first few years in ERP innovation were dedicated almost exclusively to moving the solutions to the cloud. In recent years, however, exciting trends have been popping up in the field.
This article will present some of the most relevant ERP trends. Some have been gaining momentum for years, while others are still in their early stages.
ERP software has been around for some time. However, it has undergone so many changes that the older versions are now called legacy systems. These platforms served companies well, particularly enterprises. However, times have changed and trends appear to be favoring modernization.
Spreadsheet dependence, siloed information, and security limitations are just some of the disadvantages of legacy ERP systems. This made ERP software unappealing to most modern businesses. And that’s unfortunate because there are many good reasons to implement them, some of which are shown in the chart below.
Improved Business Performance
Easier Jobs for Employees
Replacement of Legacy Systems
Panorama ERP ReportDesigned by
Good thing modern technologies have reached the field, resulting in digital transformation. Unsurprisingly, this was followed by continuous innovation where trends shift from one area to another. Let’s look at some of them.
Using cloud-based ERP software isn’t exactly the latest trend, but it’s one of the most game-changing ones. In the past, ERP applications are only offered as on-premise solutions with startup fees and hardware costs. As a result, they can be too expensive for smaller businesses.
With the emergence of cloud computing, more vendors are now offering cloud-hosted options that make ERP solutions more accessible to SMBs. With these systems, users no longer have to worry about expensive system maintenance and upgrades. Moreover, they can choose to avail only the modules that they require, giving them more control over their budgets.
Because of the success of cloud adoption, SaaS ERP solutions are now dominating the market. Many companies who are using on-premises ERP are realizing their limitations, including inflexibility, costly scaling, and lack of innovation. Thus, more businesses are predicted to invest in cloud ERP in the foreseeable future.
However, ERP’s use of the cloud doesn’t stop there. There’s a growing number of businesses that are also opting for hybrid ERP solutions. According to Accenture’s 2019 ERP Trends, while 51% of chief information officers (CIOs) prefer cloud ERP and 35% use on-premise solutions, 10% of companies now use hybrid ERP tools and it’s set to grow in the coming years.
This type of system combines the strengths of on-premises and cloud-based ERP while covering for each other’s weaknesses. As a result, it has become ideal for businesses whose main focus lies in products and assets. This includes the companies in digital media and business service industries, among many others.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been the talk in the ERP industry for a few years now. Typically, users have to install separate add-ons to their systems to enjoy the benefits of automation and intelligence. However, it is becoming increasingly common these days for ERP solutions to have such functionalities built-in.
ERP with intelligence tech integration is also known as iERP. It provides companies with a significant edge through innovative data processing. Transforming business data into actionable insights is just the beginning.
There are more data than ever for companies to collect. It’s not just the amount that spiked but also their complexity. There’s only so much unstructured data that businesses need to get a rein on. Therefore, companies need to find new ways of analyzing data if they want to make full use of it. This is where AI-driven ERP software comes in.
Intelligent ERP solutions can also create workflows, reduce errors, lessen information loading time, and more. It can automate hours’ worth of routine processes. This frees some of your employees’ time, which they can use on more valuable work.
Intelligent ERP solutions can also analyze your historical data and combine it with information from other departments. The system can then suggest more effective ways of executing your internal processes. Overall, AI and other intelligent techs, when combined with ERP, can improve your business’ productivity, efficiency, and bottom line.
Source: Accenture.comDesigned by
Mobility was once an “extra” feature, but by today’s standards, it’s more of a fixture. Gone are the days when a solution is tied to a single machine. Complete mobile support will be one of the basic functionalities of a modern ERP tool.
Aside from on-the-go access to data, the mobile approach in ERP brings a plethora of benefits. One of the most obvious being its capability to perform business operations anytime and anywhere. This means that both back-end and front-end activities are available on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
Its implication on overall productivity is great. For instance, employees working outside office hours can close deals even from home. That’s because they have access to all the information and tools they need through their mobile devices.
Mobility also means having a more accurate and convenient data capture process. Staff can gather and key-in information straight from the field. This removes the need to wait for them to return to the office and enter data.
Mobile ERP also lessens the risk of production delay because of better communication. For example, if there’s a materials delivery issue, the manufacturing process would be put on hold. But if it was communicated in real-time, then measures can be made to avoid or at least minimize losses.
Companies can also take advantage of other benefits of using mobile ERP. These include quicker decision-making, better workflow, and enhanced efficiency.
ERP systems have always been great in terms of collecting and organizing data. Not as good, however, when it comes to reporting and analysis. But that’s old news because modern ERP systems are now natively equipped with powerful data analytics features. This is mostly because companies are prioritizing the ability to make data-driven decisions quickly.
Right now, most businesses are enjoying ERP systems with integrated analytics, ad-hoc reporting, and data visualization capabilities. This provides them access to relevant information in real-time. Companies use it then to make essential business decisions regarding finances or other business aspects. As a result, decision making is now available at all levels, from the manufacturing division up to the executives.
Going forward, ERP users can be excited about more robust analytics and reporting capabilities. The future of ERP points to an end-to-end tool that can process both structured and unstructured data. This signifies that another process that ERP managers will need to focus on is learning how to leverage big data analytics.
ERP solutions will have access to all data from various departments. Therefore, they have every information necessary to predict future trends. This makes predictive analysis a strong suit of modern ERP platforms.
ERP system generates reports%
Through spreadsheets using data from ERP system%
Data from the ERP system is transmitted to data warehouse%
Integrated third-party app connects to ERP to get data%
Stand-alone third-party app uses data extracted from ERP system%
Source: Medium.comDesigned by
Access to real-time data provides a lot of benefits to companies. These include more precise insights, smoother business operations, better customer service, and more. Therefore, it’s not surprising that ERP systems are making it part of their core capabilities.
A smart business decision relies on timely and accurate information. Thus, ERP systems are giving more attention to providing businesses with a means to obtain reliable information in real-time. With this, the management is given greater visibility into data from varying sources and departments. This usually spells the difference between success and failure in decision-making.
More than just providing metrics, real-time information can also help in maintaining a smooth business operation. ERP is a congregation of various tools used by multiple departments. This means that it’s in a perfect position to seamlessly communicate all relevant data across all departments.
ERP solutions can also complement fairly new technologies. For instance, the adoption of 3D printing laid the foundation for new manufacturing ERP trends. Bigger and more complex 3D printers allow manufacturers to cut down on costs and enhance efficiency in their processes. However, it requires a plethora of data to process and interconnect. This is where ERP systems excel.
Another significant benefit of real-time data in ERP is its ability to enhance the customer experience. CRM modules, when integrated into an ERP system, can give you access to a series of useful customer-related information. Your customer service personnel will be armed with purchase histories, habits, and other significant details. This will yield a better chance of increasing sales, engagement levels, and retention rates.
The financial module is deemed as one of the most valuable aspects of the modern ERP system. It provides finance-related functionalities such as general ledger, currency management, payroll management, fixed assets, cash management, and more. It’s also responsible for producing financial reports for various departments.
Those were just the essential services that ERP gives to the finance and accounting teams of a business. In recent years, however, the financial module is getting more involved in both internal and external processes within companies. For instance, it records every transaction and integrates them with other modules to calculate the impact of particular spending.
Nonetheless, one of the major reasons why ERP’s role in finance is evolving is its access to more powerful analytics. Built-in or add-on, modern ERP solutions’ analytics empowers quick decision making and plan execution. It allows accounting, finance, and planning departments to rapidly and effectively respond to any situations and adapt to operational changes.
Finance professionals deeply show interest in the innovation that ERP systems provide, particularly in the area of analytics. Thanks to this, ERP solutions are continually improving their data analytics to deliver faster and more powerful service.
Marketing might not be the first to come to mind when talking about ERP systems. However, it’s assuredly there. And if companies want to gain an edge in this highly competitive modern world, then they better leverage this module.
First, let’s discuss how an ERP system is related to the marketing strategy of a company. Marketing doesn’t end with making engaging and attractive campaigns; that’s just one aspect of it. There must be a tool to measure its success. Analytics will help find out what’s lacking in a campaign, and the right data will determine the ideal target audience. That’s where ERP comes in.
A marketing campaign that can’t access the data from the ERP system would be lacking in relevant metrics. It’s also a great help to marketers if they can use CRM and other resources as a basis for their strategy. Because of this, businesses are connecting their marketing process into their ERP solutions.
Another trend in the digital marketing aspect of ERP is the use of social media platforms. As you can see in the provided chart, there are billions of social media users. As a result, businesses who used to believe that social media isn’t a professional market are now starting to recognize its potential.
Because of this, we can expect more ERP solutions to integrate marketing capability with various social media platforms. These include the gathering of links, publishing of posts, getting analytics from social media, and more.
Companies might also have to require social media skills from their next sales rep or digital marketing manager. Either they include it in their training sessions or make it a skill requirement right from the start. Whichever it is, social media will help shape the future of the digital marketing aspect of ERP solutions.
Source: Pew Research CenterDesigned by
As discussed above, aside from moving to the cloud, the modular approach brought ERP to smaller organizations. In 2019, however, the trend took another step forward by providing more personalized and vertical solutions to businesses. As such, we can expect that by 2020, one-size-fits-all ERP solutions will become less common.
This originated from buyers recognizing the benefits reaped from letting go of most control over their systems. In return, they’ll get the configurability of a specialized solution without having to rely on dedicated IT teams. Needless to say, this will also help their bottom lines by reducing their capital and maintenance expenses.
This doesn’t mean, however, that each ERP system in the market is created from scratch. That’s both impractical and unrealistic. Instead, what we’ll be getting are industry-ready systems that are customized to support the unique requirements of various industries. Also, each component would undergo standardization so that the deployment process’s speed won’t suffer just to accommodate the increase in flexibility.
In the future, ERP solutions would feature a more extensive user interface. They’ll become more consumer-centric, flexible, and accessible as well. Also, the tools would be easy to operate not just for programmers or IT specialist, but for any employee.
More than that, personalization also readies ERP solutions for the explosive growth of IoT, AI, and other technologies. That’s because customization is the way by which ERP components can seamlessly integrate with these innovations. This could potentially reshape the ERP landscape by creating new models and processes by which things can be done.
ERP solutions generally complement new technologies. For instance, the adoption of additive manufacturing or 3D printing laid the foundation for new manufacturing ERP trends.
Bigger and more complex 3D printers allow manufacturers to cut down costs and enhance efficiency in their processes. However, it requires a plethora of data to interconnect. 3D printers need digital data from electronic sources. Some parts are better if produced through a more traditional approach than 3D printing too.
All these factors and more are what enterprises that are planning to adopt additive manufacturing must consider. In essence, 3D printing cannot stand on its own. Not in a large-scale production anyway. That’s where ERP comes in. It can bridge all the necessary processes together through a single platform.
ERP systems can help monitor the number of materials necessary for production via 3D printing. Aside from that, it can also keep tabs on every product in the entirety of the manufacturing process. That means keeping an eye on every material since it’s raw, during the production, throughout the shipping, through delivery.
However, businesses must still check to see if their system has the capacity and capability to handle the avalanche of data. They’ll then determine if they need an upgrade, a change in software, or to do other necessary actions.
This practice of reviewing the system will become more prominent as we enter 2020. That’s because there’s an increasing number of manufacturers that are actively integrating 3D printers into their operations. According to a study conducted by Sculpteo, 51% of enterprises are using 3D printers for their production process. At this rate, we will only see a growth in this number in the future.
Proof of Concept
Source: SculpteoDesigned by
ERP and the Internet of Things (IoT), when combined, can open a plethora of possibilities. IoT offers smooth connectivity to every sensor or physical device in a network without the need for human intervention. Coming up with a more consumer-centric approach to business is just one of the ways ERP systems can leverage this innovation.
With IoT and ERP, companies will be able to gather, analyze, and process a vast amount of information through sensors. This translates to getting real-time data regarding machine performance and closer monitoring of the production process. The need for fewer manual input also means less reliance on technicians and faster, more automated operation. That’s just barely scratching the surface for what IoT and ERP can bring when they’re together.
While this isn’t a new idea, there was a delay in the adoption of IoT by ERP systems. That’s because this kind of solution, especially the legacy ones, isn’t built to take in data from a network of sensors. We can also add factors like on-premises vs. cloud arguments and incomplete implementation of most ERP systems. We’ll then get a partial picture of why these innovations with seemingly vast potentials haven’t been in good terms.
However, 2020 is the time when we can expect big moves from companies. Next year, businesses are expected to integrate 7.5 billion IoT devices into their operations. Consequently, companies will need a system that will allow them to interface the network to fully maximize IoT’s capabilities. That’s why in 2020, they’re projected to spend $40 billion on systems, platforms, and services that will facilitate that goal. This trend is most prominent in the manufacturing, logistics, and transformation industries.
We’re already past the time when ERP is only accessible to large enterprises. Due to the rise of cloud computing, modular systems, and other technological innovations, smaller businesses can now enjoy them too. This also means that as more customers have access to them, it will gain more attention from both developers and innovators. Thus, trends concerning ERP will also continue to shift and grow.
For legacy ERP systems, this means that they must keep track of the trends and adapt. They must innovate with time. They’re on the verge of either keeping up or disappearing. For modern ERP systems, being complacent in this competitive field is fatal.
Some companies are still not sure whether or not they must invest in an ERP system. We can’t say for sure that you require one, but we can say with confidence that it’s worth the consideration. Check out our article explaining why ERP software is useful to help you make a more well-founded decision.
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