If a business expects to grow, they’ll need robust tools that will help support and enable that growth. You can no longer track all of your sales, customer orders, production schedules, and other necessary information on spreadsheets alone. Some niche tools may work for a time, but as you scale, you need a solution that will give you the big picture of your organization in one place.
That’s what Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are built for: collecting everything you need to know about how your business runs into one interface. Not only can an ERP gather and synthesize the data produced by every facet of your company, it provides insights into areas of improvement so that you can upgrade upon your operations and increase your productivity.
But an ERP can only help foster that growth if it keeps up with the speed of industry and innovation. Here’s how ERPs have evolved with industry changes and what solutions and benefits they’ll provide for businesses in the future.
How ERP Systems Keep Pace with Innovation
Companies that produce and distribute products — from B2C start-ups, to large manufacturing plants, to retail — know that success stems from being able to track and manage all the moving parts of their business. An ERP system can provide that centralized tracking of all components of their operations, gather data and insights, and keep everyone in the workforce connected. But as companies digitize their technology and scale their operations, they need ERP systems that will scale with their business needs. Here are some of the ways ERP has evolved to keep pace with innovation.
Many companies are moving their data, assets, and workloads to the cloud in order to reap the benefits of the scale and flexibility that cloud environments offer. Today, 90% of organisations are using cloud capabilities in some fashion, and companies turning to cloud solutions will look to cloud-based ERPs as well. Modern ERP solutions have evolved their scope in order to adequately handle all the data in the cloud as well, keeping pace as organizations scale.
Not only are more companies recognizing the benefits of gathering and tracking data to analyze for better operational efficiency, but the amount of data that can be gathered by both digital and physical assets is increasing as well. ERPs function as a central hub through which companies can collect their data, and good ERP systems also analyze it as well to extract insights that help improve operations.
The way in which companies interact with hardware and software has changed, too. In moving away from standalone hardware systems, the shift to cloud has enabled the use of Software as a Service (SaaS), allowing software to be accessed from any laptop, smartphone, tablet, or other device. ERP systems that function as SaaS systems benefit companies that want their workforce to be connected. Additionally, SaaS ERP system can tie together operations across locations around the world as well.
Businesses are becoming much more global. They’re expanding operations and locations, distributing teams across countries, and feeling impacts of industry disruptions around the world as well. ERP solutions need to be robust enough to handle industry at scale, and anticipate disruptions and business needs.
The Evolving Benefits of ERP
We’ve seen how modern ERP systems have kept up with the pace of industry, and as business needs evolve, ERP systems will need to keep pace as well. What kinds of solutions will ERP systems offer to businesses in the future?
Broader features and benefits
ERP systems are evolving to offer more wide-spread features and benefits than just managing daily operations. Already ERP systems can provide data analysis tools, manage finances, integrate with POS systems, and act as a CRM tool. But we’ll also see ERP systems provide a way to foster collaboration and problem-solving across the workforce, wherever they may be. ERPs will also provide tools to better track and manage regulatory compliance, as well as help increase sustainability efforts — especially important considering that 61% of factory workers would leave their current company for a more sustainable one.
Increasing data services
The rise in data will only continue to increase and businesses who want to leverage that data will need ways to synthesize and analyze it. As such, we’ll see ERP systems evolve in their Data as a Service (DaaS) offerings, where they’ll be able to provide better integration, storage, analytics, and more. This will allow companies to drive their efficiency and profitability, as studies find that organizations who are highly data-driven are three times more likely to see measurable improvement in their decision-making.
Personalization and concierge
Businesses are best served by tools that they can personalize to their business needs, not that keep them locked into vendor limitations. Going forward, we’ll see ERP systems offer more personalization and customization for businesses who want to tailor tools to their needs. ERP systems will also offer the ability to choose industry data to integrate into their analysis to give them better benchmarks.
Prediction and forecasting
Because ERP systems essentially oversee every unit of a business, and can integrate industry data, we’ll see ERPs provide businesses with more accurate forecasting. This can range from anticipating physical assets maintenance and repair, to better managing materials cost, to predicting disruptions in supply chains around the world.
As companies grow, so does the need to implement automation to remove manual processes that may cause error, slow down operations, or simply take up too much worker time. ERP can help with identifying areas where automation would benefit operations, and companies can use their ERP to manage their automations as well. According to Epicor report two-thirds of factory workers anticipate that their job will be replaced by automation, and an ERP can give them the tools to create automations for their manual tasks.
Solutions That Will Keep Pace With Your Organization
As businesses face growth, they need robust tools that will support that growth. An ERP provides you more transparency into how your operations work and insights into how to work more efficiently. It can also prepare you today to be a data-driven industry leader in the future.