Four decades back when ERP came into existence, it was considered to be an integral functional tool for entering and recording data of an organization having run siloed business processes with very little integration capabilities and was leveraged only by large enterprises. Over time it has started serving to small and medium enterprise with different integrated business processing capabilities and has evolved itself to serve the cutting edge working environment of various organizations. Indeed, as on today also ERP is consistent to changes and advancement, winding up significant, adaptable and accessible features required to execute business process not only for the large enterprises, but also to the smaller organizations.
In the present scenario, organizations have to make instant and educated choices about how to rapidly adjust, roll out steady improvements and execute new techniques by using automation capabilities . Besides, they should know how to handle huge quantum of data and to make informed decision from these data sets which can be used for predictive analysis as against the descriptive reporting.
Over last couple of years, alongside the continuous improvement and re-engineering needs of the business process, ERP as a packaged solution has entered a new league of business processing and operations monitoring tool which is more intelligent and is embeded with new age advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things and cloud computing. The new age enterprise and organizations will need these new advancements to keep up their operational efficiency and business growth by means of automation, robotics enablement and data driven decision making. Next generation ERP brings in lot of flexibility and innovation capabilities alongside business processes which can act based upon rule based algorithm and will provide more actionable insight for executing the business process.
The new age customer thinking and ever since evolving user experience blended with ever increasing peer competition has forced organization to become more innovative and to embark on a digital transformation for which digitizing the core becomes an integral part of ERP modernization leading to shifting from system of record to intelligent ERP. Intelligent ERP solutions are rapidly getting to be embraced as the new frameworks of the world. As a rule, next generation ERP is characterized as ERP suites which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning based on a huge, curated information data sets collection used for better forecasting, analysing and managing the business process based upon predictive modelling. What makes next generation ERP stand separated are highlighttowards being more user friendly and intelligent. These insightful frameworks are fit for purpose, breaking down the silos and based upon cloud compatible huge computational in-memory database technology.
As ERP solutions continue to evolve and become more intelligent, block chain technology will emerge as a front runner by creating single and secured source of truth which will be completely transparent to all parties across the board and will eliminate the inefficiency found in the current ERP systems through lowering cost and reducing risk specially for Global and Multinational organizations. This will also help build trust within business network and can make the transactions more efficient and streamlined. In addition to block chain technology , the continuous evolution of SMAC (social, mobility, analytics and cloud computing) is also contributing to the emergence of next generation ERP platforms. In today’s world of business partner and network function, collaboration and mobility plays a significant role in processing of business data in ERP which should be based upon open architecture and cloud based platform to bring in speed and agility so as to empower business users with insight on any data from anywhere in a real time scenario . It should be multi-dimensional and should serve multiple locations on multiple devices ensuring accurate and up to date data on a real time basis. This also brings in complexity related to integration and security in addition to country specific regulations like GDPR and the next generation intelligent ERP should be able to handle these aspects as an in-built features.
Organization moving from generic to specific and concept based to practical approach will translate next generation ERP to become more pragmatic with specific initiatives like transaction and master data management along with tracking as a core critical business process with light weight add-on connections which is more industry specific and comes as a plug-in to the core ERP which is aimed at making incremental and necessary changes to the business. These ERP’s in addition to the core functionality will also be flexible business solutions hosted on-premise and with cloud compatible platform that empowers organization to achieve operational excellence and agility needed to gain an edge over the challenges of today’s digital era. This will also centralize and harmonize the data (structured, semi structured and unstructured) along with integration of business processes and removal of silos within the organization and will extend the core to help thrive our rapidly changing world.
Boston Consulting Group