Both suppliers and analysts have been predicting how ERP solutions will evolve this year. What are the global trends, how is it reflected locally? I made a summary of the most representative forecasts and here are the conclusions:
Ultra-connectivity, all equipment exports data
Most of the things around us have already acquired a primary level of intelligence, capture and export data. Internet of Things (IoT) is already on the market, billions of devices are connected, and the association with ERP systems will become more frequent. The main advantage is that from this merger, the ERP systems will enter more and more data and will be able to generate more and more valuable information. We already integrate in SAP Business One data from the most diverse production equipment (machines and machines, conveyor belts, scales, scanners, etc.) and the options will be more and more numerous. The overall image of the organization that the ERP offers, has become increasingly relevant and at a better resolution. The beneficiaries, regardless of the vertical, will be able to organize, plan and evaluate their activity much better, will be more proactive and will be able to operate business changes on a “microscopic” level.
Hyper-automation through software robots
The term was introduced on the market by Gartner in 2019 and represents the democratization of access to automated ones. Hyper-automation is closely linked to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology and is sought / desired in all areas of activity, where manual and repetitive tasks have become a burden on employees. The ERP-RPA association is increasingly demanded by clients and justified by the economic results. The time and accuracy gains are surprisingly high, and the return on investment far exceeds expectations. Why integrate different applications with code and connectors when a software robot can combine data from two systems in a fast and flexible way. Workflows, reports, information exchange … everything gets easier with software robots working on ERP systems. The medium-term trend is for ERP solutions to incorporate RPA modules, which are included natively in the standard application.
General mobility, business anytime and from anywhere
In previous years, mobility was just an extra functionality of an ERP system. Today, mobility is a basic principle in the logic of a computerized management system. It is no longer about mobile access to data but about the ability to do business anytime, anywhere. Whether we are talking about teams with field activity or front-office / back-office employees, mobility is a sine qua non condition, beyond the operating system or device brand. Mobility brings both access to data and the ability to capture and produce data, wherever the employee is, generating real-time communication and making business processes more seamless. Business decisions are thus more efficiently informed.
Artificial intelligence, high speed of work and agility
Adding a level of Artificial Intelligence to business applications started a few years ago, but it involved addons or third-party applications. 2020 is stepping up the addition of native AI functionality to ERP systems, for which a new acronym iERP has emerged. Smart ERP solutions come to the user by intuiting the information they need, proposing new workflows, reducing the number of errors and speeding up processes. Users will become more creative and will focus mainly on the decision-making aspects of their work. IERP systems have the ability to analyze data from multiple perspectives and find new meanings. They will in time lead to a considerable increase in working speed and agility.
Cloud Computing, everywhere, but not for everyone
It seems out of date to talk about the cloud as a trend, but by 2020, the market will understand that, for many reasons, the cloud is everywhere, but not for everyone. The solutions delivered from the cloud retain their primary advantages: rapid implementation, zero investment in hardware, predictable monthly cost, constant updating, scalability. Entrepreneurs already know and analyze them. On the other hand, the cloud is not suitable in any scenario. For companies that need advanced customizations, integrations with third-party applications, multiple addons and a high level of data privacy / security, the on-premises implementation remains the best choice. If a functional IT infrastructure already exists, in the long run the total cost of using the solution (TCO – Total Cost of Ownership) may be better.
- Ultraconnectivity – ERP systems retrieve data from more and more machines and equipment
- Hyper-automation – software robots can eliminate any repetitive task
- Mobility – business anytime and anywhere
- Artificial Intelligence – systems become proactive and offer new perspectives
- Cloud Computing – everywhere, but not for everyone
Romania, as a market, is not in the first wave of adoption of new technologies, although there are companies with vision. Most entrepreneurs are waiting for validation of some directions before investing. All the technological elements mentioned above: ultraconnectivity, hyper-automation, mobility, cloud, AI, are already in operation and are giving results. In the short term, technology can become a competitive advantage, as long as it is implemented and exploited efficiently. If you follow the economic evolution of leaders in the most diverse sectors of activity, you will notice that they are companies that are constantly investing in technology.