Top seven ERP trends for 2017

Thursday March 02, 2017
Written by Hitachi Solutions
Mar. 2, 2017 - Technology-focused businesses are using enterprise resource planning (ERP) to streamline processes. This has led to rapid change and growth that effects not only the speed at which organizations run, but also how they are run — helping them to improve efficiencies and develop stronger customer relationships.

As innovation in the space continues, new plans and ideas are being developed that promise to further improve the way businesses operate. The following are the top trends that are predicted to change the ERP landscape in 2017 and beyond.

1. Cloud-computing will become crucial
Traditional on-premises ERP systems require companies to manage much of the processes and information including, but not limited to; operating systems, data, networking, storage and disaster recovery. This can significantly cut down on efficiencies.

Cloud ERP solutions require companies to manage only their data and applications. This in turn reduces infrastructure costs. Additionally, Cloud systems allow for the access of essential information from anywhere, at anytime, offering businesses the flexibility they need to succeed in today’s connected environment.  

2. There will be a growing ERP selection
ERP systems originally only tackled specific business processes, but the growth of Cloud-based ERP solutions has allowed companies to easily integrate with other Cloud-based software, helping to streamline business processes.

A byproduct of this evolution to easy integration has been the adoption of ERP systems by smaller, mid-size organizations because of the value provided at such an affordable cost. Moving forward, organizations of every size will have numerous options to choose from when looking for an ERP solution.

3. IoT and big data will get even bigger
Traditionally, companies were forced to rely on financial and sales operations analysts for macro customer reporting, but big data now allows companies to analyze large sets of data with more precision than ever before, manage inventory and run price optimizations. As a result, companies can uncover real-time customer trends and patterns to unlock new opportunities.

4. IoT will continue to grow
As more devices are embedded within software, sensory and other network technology to transmit data — i.e. ATMs, smartwatches, modern cars — manufacturers will be able to connect to these items remotely.

The need for human interaction with data and machinery will continue to lessen. Processes automated by IoT technology will keep plant operations running smoothly and on schedule as manufacturing work will no longer require manual supervision or intervention to get the job done.

Connecting remotely also allows manufacturers to access information which will allow them to make improvements and optimize supply chain and production developments in real-time.

5. Processes will become quicker
The amount of time it takes companies to go from ideation to market adoption has gotten shorter and shorter due to recent advancements in Cloud-computing. Interfaces are faster, cleaner and more accurate in both office and mobile applications. Simple applications allow ERP vendors to not only meet, but exceed market demands as they happen, with even less costs. Simple applications improve effectiveness, and reduce setup costs.

Social media’s integration into ERP solutions is growing and will continue to grow. Social networking allows companies to connect with customers in real-time, and enables them to analyze and report on the company’s social activity. This lends itself to even quicker and cheaper innovation as businesses will be able to quickly identify trends in customer and prospect behaviour, and thus more effectively strategize on converting that social audience.

6. Artificial intelligence (AI) will leave room for more creativity
ERP applications grow with the improvements to AI. AI is a “smart solution” that learns and improves with time. For example, a digital assistant can help a service technician by performing root cause analysis for corrective maintenance issues. The digital assistant’s understanding of performance, technical structure and maintenance history, as well as how the equipment should perform based on similar units, allows it to answer the technician’s questions with evidence-based recommendations.

AI will quickly become an important part of business functions. For instance, it will reduce operational costs and effort involved with low-level routine tasks, such as generating invoices and sending purchase orders. This will help companies shift their focus to more innovative, creative and analytical tasks.

7. ERP security will tighten
Security is becoming more and more of a concern to companies and individuals. The volume and sophistication of data breaches will continue to rise, as more data is stored in the Cloud. ERP providers therefore must offer top-notch data protection with sophisticated security features. Company access to central admin panels and 24/7 support from ERP solution providers will allow any issue to be resolved quicker than with traditional ERP solutions.

8. ERP, CRM, and BI will all integrate
A single, end-to-end platform integrating all the Cloud-based management platforms will allow businesses to function more efficiently without the need for disparate systems. These systems consolidate data into one platform, allowing the organization to manage business-specific processes and gain total visibility into business operations and performance.

This post was adapted from ERP Trends for 2017.

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