Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is one of the most dynamic, exciting areas of the business software world. Innovations and advances in functionality appear year after year. Here are the five trends we’re seeing for ERP today:
- The cloud is becoming the norm for ERP—This trend is not limited to ERP, of course. Cloud computing is playing a role in virtually every sphere of corporate IT. Cloud ERP is definitely on the rise. We expect it to increase as a share of overall ERP spending. There are a number of reasons for this. Cloud ERP tends to be more agile and flexible than comparable on-premises systems. The cloud approach also results in little-to-no capital expenditures (CapEx). Cloud ERP solutions make it possible to connect different modules more easily than is possible with legacy systems. This is not always the case, but in general, a modern, cloud-native ERP solution will have simple, fast connectivity.
A further trend we expect to see more of is the move to hybrid and multi-cloud architectures. Not everything will be in the cloud, so it’s essential for cloud ERP solutions to integrate with on-premises systems. For example, a company may add cloud storage to ERP from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or both. Cloud ERP may also need to link with cloud-based Disaster Recovery (DR) and so forth.
- We’re going to see more app-to-app connections—As we see in our daily work with many ERP clients, no one business software application can do everything. And, even if it could, there is still reality: companies have investments in existing solutions that they aren’t going to rip out any time soon. As a result, ERP needs to integrate with other applications. This is getting easier and faster, though, with the proliferation of standards-based (e.g. RESTful) Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to be powering more ERP features—This may not happen immediately, but it’s definitely a trend to watch. AI is already starting to perform small “thinking” tasks in ERP, like suggesting replenishment of inventory based on historical ordering patterns. ERP solutions will also develop increasingly sophisticated data-driven analytics capabilities powered by AI. These might perform functions like identifying significant trends or correlating operational data with external data sources.
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is coming, if it isn’t already here—RPA is a class of software the creates software “robots” that can perform simple, human-like mind tasks like opening and reading emails, opening a help ticket or extracting data from an email and putting it into a spreadsheet. RPA can lead to greater productivity for people. We think ERP users will see more RPA workflows in the near future.
- ERP is getting simpler and more streamlined—Don’t hold us to this, but we think that ERP systems are going to become simpler to use. In contrast to earlier times, when vendors were racing to introduce as many new features as possible, the trend now is to make existing features more intuitive for end users.
Security is another trend that’s pervasive and so significant that it doesn’t even belong on the list. It’s just there, and it will continue to be important for all stakeholders. Data breaches, identity and access management, malware, ransomware—these should all be top of mind for anyone dealing with ERP. Leading ERP vendors are engaging and introducing security features that align with security policies and practices.
If you want to learn more about what ERP can do for your business, we should talk. Contact us to see a demo of cloud ERP.