Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) will continue to be affected by trends, some new and some continuing, according to the experts queried by ERP observer EnterpriseAppsToday.com.
“The Top 8 ERP Trends for 2014,” EnterpriseAppsToday.com’s recent blog post is a fascinating read on the changes, and challenges, ahead for ERP. Time to start planning — for how you’ll be making resource plans for the enterprise in 2014.
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Here’s a summary of the experts’ top eight ERP trends for coming year:
Expectations by executives and employees of having real-time access to information regardless of where they are continues to make mobile ERP a big trend in 2014. “Gone are the days of accessing ERP system from a single computer — now employees use phones and tablets just as much — if not more — than they do a computer or laptop,” said Eric Kimberling, managing partner at Panorama Consulting Solutions. “Vendors are finally beginning to provide compelling and secure ways for employees to accomplish this, so look for increased adoption of mobile solutions.”
EnterpriseAppsToday.com writes, “Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, believes that in the coming year businesses will quickly embrace mobile ERP, not just for reports and dashboards, but for conducting key business processes.”
Consumerization’s Impact on ERP
Jeremy Roche, president and CEO of FinancialForce.com, tells EnterpriseAppsToday.com that consumerization of the back office is the key trend in 2014. “Traditional siloed ERP systems will be replaced with technology that is as fluid, interconnected, social and mobile as the front office has become within the last year,” he says. “As a result, employees in both front and back office functions will become more closely connected to customers.”
Roche sees 2014 as the year of the back office. “With one cohesive view of multiple customer touch points, companies will be able to achieve higher customer satisfaction and make more informed business decisions, which will lead to profitable growth,” he says.
“Enterprises once attempted to build an all-encompassing ERP system to take care of every aspect of organizational systems,” writes EnterpriseAppsToday.com. “But some expensive failures have gradually brought about a change in strategy – adopting two tiers of ERP.”
Tier one may be using Oracle or SAP as the primary system, whereas the second tier might be used as a platform for the latest features, mobile ERP for example.
Again, NetSuite’s Nelson, “This will be the year that two-tier ERP hits its full stride as large enterprise companies that have invested heavily in cumbersome on-premise ERP rapidly turn to more agile, easily deployed systems that can be rolled out to subsidiaries and new divisions without having to rip out SAP and Oracle at headquarters.”
Cloud ERP Gains Ground
As the advantages become apparent, more companies are placing their “crown jewels” into the cloud. Christine Hansen, product manager at Epicor Software tells EnterpriseAppsToday.com, “SaaS ERP takes this platform into the cloud which enables organizations to not only unite around business processes, but because data is now in the cloud it is much easier to coalesce across supplier networks and supply chains to drive greater efficiency in manufacturing projects.”
“As cloud-based ERP has emerged, the traditional powerhouses such as Oracle, SAP and Microsoft have had to work overtime to cloud-enable their offerings — with mixed success,” writes EnterpriseAppsToday.com.
“As enterprises and companies that have not traditionally been cloud ERP customers turn to the cloud, competition in the market will increase,” said Nelson. “This will require cloud ERP buyers to carefully evaluate vendors across increasingly specific industry benchmarks and standards.”
Social ERP or Not So Much?
ERP systems aren’t immune from the hype around social media, but the question is how important, or not, is it to integrate social media packages into them. NetSuite’s Nelson predicts, “2014 will determine whether social can be a true ERP accessory, providing tangible value to front-line employees and management alike.”
Taking Out the Middle Man
Traditionally, ERP systems for small and mid-sized manufacturers used a middleman to collect data, using a reader device, between the work centers and the database.
EnterpriseAppsToday.com writes that that may be about to change. The post quotes Michelle Donaldson, senior business consultant at Exact Software North America, “2014 will see more offerings of affordable mid-market technology to skip the barcodes and clock swipes in lieu of a direct link between machine and ERP database for consumption, completions and labor updates.”
Panorama’s Kimberling also called attention to major budget concerns in the coming year, noting that customization of ERP software typically results in escalating ERP costs, particularly for the manufacturing industry.
The average ERP implementation across all industries costs $9.8 million, according to Panorama, while the average manufacturing ERP implementation costs $11.4 million, due primarily to the sheer complexity of manufacturing processes, which demand heavy customization.
“Only 6 percent of organizations implement ERP with the same level of customization as is generally required in manufacturing,” says Kimberling.
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Read the full EnterpriseAppsToday.com post here.
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