Like all software, ERP evolves. Recently, some folks at a firm called Compare Business Products compiled a few trends for 2015 culled from sources including Gartner Research and ComputerWorld, among others. A few we thought worth highlighting follow.
- Consolidation – Increasingly, enterprise applications seem to be covering more ground. What once were largely “accounting” systems have evolved to include CRM (Customer Relationship Management), SCM (Supply Chain Management) and BI (Business Intelligence), among others. This trend only continues to grow as suites become more powerful and all-encompassing of the functionality required to run today’s more sophisticated enterprise.
- Social Media – A trend we’re beginning to see, as ERP goes Social. Microsoft is among several companies exploring the potential. While some may underplay the importance of social media, there is much to be gained from the type of customer engagement and retention that comes from social media integration. CRM experts tell us that “social media data related to customers and to products is essential to understanding customer preferences and product improvement.”
- Cloud vs. On-Premises – A recent Gartner survey found that only 2% of ERP buyers had moved to the cloud. Those whose answers ranged from Next 3 years… to 3 to 5 years… to 5 to 10 years… to “not likely” comprised a whopping 79%. Another 17% said they “can’t say.” Not a lot of traction for cloud at least for now and into the near-future according to those results.
- Going Vertical – The trend to become more industry-specific continues to grow. If you’re in healthcare, you buy software made for that sector – whether it consists of a single suite of modules or (more likely) the addition of 3rd party enhancements to a base package. The same is true of manufacturing. There’s no need to write a bill of materials or a configurator when you can purchase such functionality off the shelf.
- Buyer Education and Preparation – Buyers have come to understand that implementing ERP successfully is not easy. As a result, they’re more educated about their solutions. Senior executives have learned that simply turning over responsibility to mid-level employees just doesn’t work. There is a growing realization that clients must take ownership of their own systems, and not just rely on their consultants to make them run. Likewise, areas including business process (and workflow) analysis and organizational change management are starting to be given the respect they deserve. This will lead to better implementations overall. (To which we and other implementers say: It can’t happen too soon.)
Other trends cited included increase mobility… the impact of the Internet of Things… and the larger tier vendors – who by now have sold all the systems they possibly can to large companies – continue their efforts to try to woo the small to midsize business customer.
You can register to download a copy of CBP’s “Top 8 Trends for ERP in 2015” here.