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Changing Trends That Can Have a Major Role in Shaping the Future of ERP

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Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) has evolved since its inception to become an enterprise-wide, consumer-driven ecosystem. What started as coordination of manufacturing workflows has adapted with technology to encompass front- and back-end strategies throughout the whole purchase value chain.
By examining how ERP models have evolved over time, you get a better understanding of the radical advancements happening today that are taking business into the future. Sysoptima.com lays out the history of ERP since it emerged in the 1960s.
The Evolution of ERP
1960s – Inventory Management and Control systems allowed businesses to control inventory and strategize sales targets.
1970s – Material Requirement Planning (MRP) introduced software to automate the inflow of raw materials upon order completion and maintain inventory levels.
1980s – Manufacturing Requirements Planning (MRP II) improved software to coordinate manufacturing processes and upgrade inventory control.
1990s – Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) institutes multi-modal software across internal business operations including planning, inventory control, marketing, distribution, accounting and human resources.
2000s – Extended Enterprise Resource Planning (EERP) extended the ERP to include customer relationship and supply chain management.
Changing Trends
As your business moves forward, the lightning-fast pace of technology means huge leaps in ERP capabilities. Here are a few aspects changing the current state of ERP:
Mobility
The increased use of Cloud-based systems means that companies can operate seamlessly, regardless of geographic location or time zone. This will usher in an era of serving specific consumer populations that were previously underutilized. This also means an increase in tapping into employee talent, regardless of geographic barriers.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Forbes explains the IoT as ability to connect anything with an on/off switch to the Internet. With the rise of smartphone availability, easy Wi-Fi access and decreased technology costs, Internet-ready devices are commonplace. In fact, it is predicted that by 2020, between 20 and 100 billion devices will be connected to the Internet and talking to each other.
Sharing so much information may seem a bit Big Brother, but the benefits for your business are mind-blowing. Suppose you need to deliver some products. Your employees’ list of deliveries can be programmed into a smart device. If the computer in your delivery truck can communicate with that smart device, the best traffic route could be planned for your driver before the truck even leaves the warehouse. Emails or texts could be sent to your customers letting them know there is a traffic jam and their package may be late.
As with anything, there are possible downsides to all this communication. Data privacy is the main concern. Can your competitor steal your latest project by hacking in through your printer? Another consideration is the huge amount of junk data that will be created. Companies will need to find a way to store, filter and analyze this data.
On-site Servers vs. Software as a Service (SaaS)
Traditionally, company data was housed on site on a physical server maintained by your IT staff. Installation costs and maintaining the staff to regularly service it was expensive. Alternatively, SaaS deploys your company data in a Cloud-based server that you access through the Internet. This cuts down on your initial investment, and the external server is maintained by the third-party entity. Companies are moving toward SaaS data housing because it is easier to set up, access and maintain. Additionally, SaaS is more responsive to fluctuations in your housing needs and is easier to upgrade than on-site servers.
The state of ERP has responded to increased capability demands since it was first introduced in the 1960s. The future possibilities for completely integrating all aspects of doing business are exciting to watch. Things like mobility, IoT and SaaS will enable companies to better serve consumer relationships and tighten up their footprint in the value chain.

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