Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions have become a staple for most business processes. An ERP is extensively used in all types of organizations to streamline and manage different areas of business. Today, nearly 53% of businesses believe that investing in an ERP is a top priority .
Investing in an ERP is not just a major financial decision, but also a practical one that can influence all aspects of your business such as accounting, sales & marketing, human resources, and more. Before purchasing an ERP software, you should be familiar with the current and upcoming ERP trends.
In this blog, we have compiled a list of the top ERP trends that we are likely to see in 2021. With the shift to cloud-based platforms, other disruptions, and stiff competition from Amazon, it seems like 2021 is likely to put forward innovative and exciting ERP trends.
Hot ERP Trends
Here are the hottest trends in the ERP industry that will also stay relevant in the upcoming years.
1. Cloud-based ERP
Traditionally, organizations opted for on-premise ERP applications and were very hesitant to shift their core business processes to the cloud. However, that narrative is rapidly changing as more and more businesses are turning to cloud ERP.
In 2018, ERP systems based on the cloud witnessed an application growth rate of around 20.7% . Many business owners are swaying cloud adoption due to the numerous advantages such as low costs, elasticity, scalability, simpler deployment, and more. Besides, a cloud ERP requires very few internal IT resources in comparison with its on-premise counterpart.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic is another major factor that has fueled the adoption of cloud-based software solutions. Since users can access a cloud-based ERP from any location as long as they have a stable internet connection, the demand continues to grow.
In addition, as companies are seeking new ways to support their remote workforce, the spotlight is on cloud-based systems.
2. Digital transformation
Digital transformation means integrating digital technologies into different business functions to streamline them. The perks of digital transformation include revenue growth and a considerable increase in employee productivity. Besides, a robust digital transformation strategy also improves communication and customer service.
As mentioned above, an ERP system has the potential to simplify almost all business processes. More so, it has a strong influence on a company’s digital transformation. A lot of companies believe the digital transformation and ERP go hand-in-hand.
In the current scenario, approximately 81% of companies are either going through the process of implementing ERP or have successfully integrated the same .
You can check out how HR teams around the world are pursuing digital transformation to get an idea.
3. Two-tier ERP
For several years, many companies have primarily focused on deploying a single ERP for both, the headquarters and regional offices. However, this approach was cost-intensive and also involved multiple implementation barriers.
While some subsidiaries had very personalized needs, others did not require all the features of a full-blown ERP software. It is safe to say that companies were struggling with the “one-size-fits-all approach.
Naturally, this paved the way for two-tier ERP – a hot trend in the ERP world in 2021. A two-tier ERP strategy provides companies with several benefits. The most important being, it allows companies to leverage their investment in current ERP solutions at the corporate level. The regional offices and other divisions use a different ERP solution, which is typically cloud-based.
The two-tier ERP approach is a perfect fit for larger corporations. They can rely on their core ERP solution for primary business processes and deploy other solutions that cater to the niche requirements of smaller business units.
It is very important to keep in mind that the success of this approach largely depends on how data is being exchanged between tier-1 and tier-2 cloud solutions.
4. Technologies Integrated with ERP
Although a cutting-edge ERP system is at the heart of a company’s digital transformation, it is only a part of it. Many companies are also integrating other business applications with various other technologies such as IoT to streamline their core processes.
For instance, retailers use warehouse management systems that source data from smart conveyors and mobile scanners to track the movement of goods within the warehouse.
A lot of companies are also integrating ERP with e-commerce to organize order workflows, inventory management, automate order fulfillment, and more.
Current trends indicate that 2021 will also see a new relationship unfolding between social media and ERP.
When companies monitor the social media activity of their customers and potential leads, they have a greater understanding of their audience. This enables them to craft engaging digital marketing campaigns and improve customer experience.
Traditional ERP systems were programmed using sophisticated scripting languages which made it difficult to customize them to fulfill the unique requirements of a company.
At present, cloud ERP systems have completely turned that around. The best cloud-ERP software is primarily designed to facilitate easier configuration. In fact, in the developing world, these platforms are referred to as “low-code” platforms.
A lot of software providers are focusing on rolling out ERP solutions that can fulfill the eccentric needs of different industries.
As more and more companies are inclined toward delivering a tailored and personal user experience, they require an ERP that can accommodate those requirements. A good start to that is the introduction of customizable dashboards.
Another noteworthy trend is the onset of AI-based conversational and interactive user interfaces such as chatbots. Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular as they can interpret voice or text messages and respond to them using customer/order information stored in the ERP system.
6. AI-backed Insights
There is no doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have gradually made their presence felt across all major industries. These cutting-edge technologies have also ventured into the business software space.
As the demand for personalization continues to grow with it, the adoption of machine learning and AI-powered ERP systems is on the rise. Today, almost all the best ERP companies in the world offer an ERP system with built-in AI functionality.
7. Mobile ERP
ERP vendors have provided mobile support for quite some time. Mobile applications are becoming a standard in the business software tools sphere.
Since the arrival of the cloud, ERP solutions have evolved and now offer on-the-go access to essential business information. This allows employees to perform front-end as well as back-end tasks from any location.
Mobile ERP can also promote collaboration between dispersed teams working across different time zones.
8. Predictive analytics
The heightened demand for AI-powered ERP points out the growing desire to collect customer and operational data for insights that will improve top and bottom lines.
End-users could always analyze ERP data to unravel a company’s past operational trajectory. However, in 2021 and beyond, things are likely to change as the focus on using predictive analytics to demystify patterns and trends is on the rise.
For instance, an ERP with machine learning capabilities can sift through an e-commerce company’s data about orders to forecast on what days of the month more orders are placed. With this information, the company can optimize its order schedules and services.
Future of ERP: What’s Next?
Without a shadow of a doubt, a lot of organizations are likely to shift their on-premise ERP module to the cloud. Companies that have already have a cloud ERP in place will focus on leveraging the benefits of the cloud to improve their customer service and support.
In 2021, the major focus will remain on developing an ERP system that is well-suited for remote work. Hence, we are likely to see more platforms with excellent mobile functionality. Besides, these platforms should also be able to secure remote access, support remote training, and increase the automation of workflows.
Taking everything into account, companies will have to rope in more efforts into ERP implementation. Besides, for a successful implementation, it is very crucial for buyers to perform in-depth research on the different ERP solutions.
You will have to identify your company’s needs and choose an ERP that can fulfill them. In addition, the platform should also be able to scale as your company grows.
Which ERP trend caught your attention? Did we miss any trend? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
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 (2018) Buck. C “ERP And Digital Transformation Go Hand In Hand” E-3 Magazine Global [online] Available from: https://e3zine.com/erp-digital-transformation-hand/ [accessed June 2021]