16 December 2019

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) isn’t exactly known for being simplistic. It has a long, complicated history that has seen it taking on many guises and continually changing over the years.

Which has its merits – all technologies need to evolve. But where does that leave the user? Can anyone navigate the ERP labyrinth and come out the other side smiling?

The simple answer is yes, reports Software Advice. Moving forward, ERP will continue to evolve so it’s up to businesses to adapt as well, prioritising integration and emerging technologies as a route to success.

The roots of ERP

There have been three key ‘eras’ of ERP.

The 1980s and 1990s have been dubbed the ‘best-of-breed’ era, during which ERP was an assortment of systems operating independently of one another.

By the late ‘90s and early 2000s, applications expanded beyond enterprise solutions to include more agile, industry-specific functionality (aka the monolithic era).

In the 2010s we entered the postmodern era, ERP software became an increasingly customisable system of applications from multiple vendors (and the system we know today).

EBC era: the emerging future

According to Gartner, the future of ERP is moving its focus away from the enterprise and evolving to become something far more expansive.

This new fourth era, dubbed EBC (or enterprise business capabilities) is defined by the following traits:

·        AI: AI-driven technologies such as machine learning and predictive analytics are the most significant force driving the EBC era.

·        Data: Any ERP system is full of financial, customer and other business information. Businesses will increasingly work to improve outcomes through data-driven insights.

·        Consumable: The shift towards individual functionality and the value of each consumable part means vendors are repositioning products based on how they are being consumed.

·        People-augmented: Automation doesn’t mean robots replacing humans. Future ERP systems will augment the human element increasing focus on decision-making, analysis and improving outcomes.

·        Enabling: Emerging voice- and gesture-based technologies will allow people to complete tasks on the go and create a self-optimising user experience.

·        Customer-facing: The future of ERP is focused on providing more value to the customer.

According to Gartner, by 2023 65% of businesses will be using ERP applications employing at least one of these fourth-era characteristics.

Future ERP success doesn’t mean abandoning your current investments or initiatives. Instead, it’s about viewing your ERP strategy with a 21st-century mindset, whilst focusing on AI and automation to get the best possible outcomes.

Are you getting long-term value out of your ERP software? If not, Hunter Charles can help you leverage your ERP technology and start optimising your ERP strategy today. Get in touch to find out more.