Here’s a thought: how competitive would your business be if it had to rely on an ERP system that was 15-20 years old? You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that the answer is “probably not very competitive”.
Likewise, is there a significant shortcoming in your present ERP system that your business has either already plugged with a third-party add-on, or would like to? If your business is at all typical, then the answer is probably “yes”.
All of which serves to underline the importance of staying abreast of current ERP trends. Because the pace of change in ERP systems shows no sign of slowing down—and an ERP trend that once appeared an irrelevance can quickly become a ‘must have’ a few years later.
So what trends in ERP software are hot right now? Here are five key ERP trends that are making the running today:
Hot ERP trend #1: Cloud ERP goes mainstream
As I’ve said on this blog before, not so long ago, Cloud ERP was seen as a risky leap into the unknown—appropriate for small businesses and startups, perhaps, but not suitable for established businesses.
No longer: these days, it’s generally accepted that Cloud ERP’s supposed drawbacks—poor security, poor levels of uptime, and laggy connections to the Cloud—just haven’t materialised.
This means that there’s little standing in the way of businesses wanting to enjoy Cloud ERP’s financial advantages.
Hot ERP trend #2: mobile everything
When ERP systems were first conceived, only planners and other back-office people sat at desks, interacting with the ERP system directly. Everyone else interacted with the ERP system through reports, ‘work-to’ lists, job tickets, and—sometimes—factory-floor terminals.
But the world has changed. These days, handheld devices are everywhere—from the vehicle-mounted RFID readers and dispatchers found on forklift trucks, to the tablet computers carried by middle managers on the factory floor.
The productivity gains are significant. But because these devices have screens with a lower pixel count, appropriate software is needed.
Hot ERP trend #3: built-in Business Intelligence
ERP systems once struggled to do anything more than produce boring, standard reports. Once again, the world has changed, and most ERP providers are incorporating some form of Business Intelligence into their systems.
That said, the precise form of the Business Intelligence capability in question varies from vendor to vendor, as does the relative sophistication of those capabilities.
But the basic trend in ERP software is clear: one-size-fits-all reporting will no longer cut the mustard.
Hot ERP trend #4: ERP for everyone
Once, only the very largest businesses could afford an ERP system—which consequently gave them an advantage over smaller rivals, who couldn’t.
Times change. And these days, there are now ERP systems—and ERP providers—to suit every budget.
Granted, the smaller ERP systems don’t have all the bells and whistles of the larger systems. But there are systems to suit all budgets.
Hot ERP trend #5: Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things
From new business models such as servitization, to replenishment driven by device-level communication, it’s clear that Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things are opening up a whole new world of opportunities.
And the simplest way to take advantage of those opportunities is by using your ERP system. This in turn requires ERP systems to be more flexible than they have formerly been, and also more connected than they have formerly been.
Which is starting to happen. Here, perhaps more than anywhere, is where we’ll see ERP systems really changed by today’s emerging ERP trends.
So is your ERP system up to the challenge—not just of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, but all the other emerging trends in ERP software coming to the fore?
If you’re not certain, then it might be time to find out more.