The end of the year always provides a good opportunity to reflect on industry changes and look ahead to the new year and what it might bring to the enterprise resource planning (ERP) marketplace. After a prolonged period of economic uncertainty, a pent-up demand for ERP system upgrades is looming on the horizon, fueled by companies that haven’t upgraded their ERP system in years.
Here are some tips on what might be happening to ERP in 2015:
Mobile ERP continues to grow
We continue to see growing interest in mobility and the ability to access ERP systems anywhere, anytime. With the increase in mobile workforce numbers comes a corresponding increase in a desire to manage ERP data with smart phones and tablets and even wearable technology. IBM i-based ERP users are going mobile, too, and vendors such as Lansa, Quadrant Software and Quatred are providing the tools to extend comprehensive ERP functionality and access to mobile devices.
More streamlined and user-friendly ERP products
In an effort to spur ERP upgrades, many vendors have tweaked their offerings to include simpler screens and dashboards, along with an easier-to-implement and personalized user experience in general. We’ll see green screen applications modernized to enhance the user experience with a personalized and contemporary look and feel.
Cloud ERP gains popularity
You cannot talk with SMB or enterprise IT professionals for more than a few minutes without somebody mentioning the cloud, and for good reason. While many ERP system managers have been hesitant about moving too fast into the cloud, that hesitance is fading fast as the infrastructure and data storage and data backup advantages of the cloud are becoming increasingly apparent. The cloud can enable easier data access inside and outside the business and across vendor networks for more effective and streamlined ERP.
For companies not ready to completely transition to the cloud, a less drastic alternative will be to employ the cloud for High Availability Backup and Recovery systems. Either way, the cloud brings valuable opportunities for improved IT operations with reduced cost and vendors such as Turning Point Systems can house your infrastructure while PSGi can provide IBM i Managed Services for your system.
More SMB ERP options
Manufacturers and other users of ERP systems are getting better educated about enterprise resource planning and available system options. With the growth in software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud-based ERP systems, smaller companies are now better able to adopt the ERP solutions that were previously reserved for large enterprises with deep pockets.
In many cases, companies have begun realizing they never implemented functionality they bought years ago and they are beginning to implement this “shelfware” with great success to improve business processes within the organization.
The impact of consumerization on ERP
Consumerization – the reorientation of product and system designs around end-user preferences – has begun spreading to enterprise resource planning. What has been traditionally a siloed technology is now undergoing change as consumerization begins to affect processes up and down the product value chain. ERP technology is becoming more fluid and mobile, enabling both front and back end functions to become more closely integrated and connected to the customers. The increasingly important role of the customer in product design is causing manufacturers to focus more on resource planning and being able to adjust product lines and programs based on customer input and response.
As organizations look to improve their ERP system implementations and business processes, more IT departments will team up with their end users to streamline systems and make them more user friendly.
Automated ERP workflow management will grow
As companies become more comfortable with collecting, managing, and analyzing large amounts of data, the desire to utilize it more intelligently is driving the growing popularity of automated ERP workflow management. Standardizing and automating functions helps to further streamline operational processes and free up workforce resources for more important and profitable activities.