Organizations will face many new challenges in the cloud-based future. ERP and enterprise software systems have undergone exceptional transformations that are both beneficial and detrimental to organizations. Success can be achieved by selecting the correct type of software; conversely, failure results if the incorrect type of software is chosen.
• More SMB ERP choices
ERP systems have come full circle by being cloud-based, industry-specific and now more cost-effective. Vertical specific and size of ERP are now being offered that were not previously available. ERP systems have become very industry focused with off-the-shelf software, thereby simplifying the software procurement decision. Many new ERP vendors have emerged to offer complete cost-effective solutions that do not break the bank.
• Better ERP reporting and user design
ERP systems are now leveraging their massive data creation, which was virtually inaccessible with older legacy ERP systems. These systems have always created and stored the correct data, but accessing the siloed data was very difficult. Data extraction and report generation often required IT intervention. Most enterprise software systems offer a friendly user interface which empowers non-technical users to build their own reports and even customize their own dashboards to support daily work operations and tasks. This is apparent with vendors such as SAP - Hana, Oracle BI, UNIT4 Business World, Infor ION and INFOR 10, and Microsoft AX. All have updated their UX and have made reporting and data aggregation easier.
• Predictive analytics
Systems can now adapt to individual users and company practices. By analyzing previous utilization patterns systems can now predict what you may be looking to do and how to execute it. Some advanced software offers a wizard to guide you through the business process, configuration, attributes and modifications that will need to be made in order to maximize the system. Others predict the data or task that you may want to execute and offer the solution to illustrate the new data. Some systems offer advanced modeling to predict “what-if” scenarios, which can be very helpful in data analysis and decision support. A great example of this is the UNIT4 Self-driving ERP.
• Large companies looking for point solutions
Many large companies have already implemented their ERP systems, whether a single system or a hybrid cloud (with multiple ERP systems). To simplify operations, large organizations are now looking for point solutions to bolster existing systems for adding specific functionality. This route is proving more cost-effective than employing the additional capabilities within a platform or IT strategy that involves adding ERP modules. A typical example of this type of shift is the addition of marketing automation or project management to existing systems of record.These organizations already have hybrid cloud environments; adding applications through the cloud can easily be plugged into an existing infrastructure without excessive costs and setup.
Organizations must remain diligent as to the types of systems required. Categorization, strategic fit (functional and technical), industry expertise, vendor track record, cost, business agility, infrastructure compatibility, integrations, proper requirement gathering, full disclosure to the vendor and prioritization are still areas of focus when selecting enterprise software.
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