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ERP Trends for 2017

In recent years, we have seen technology-focused businesses utilize enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications to streamline processes, which has resulted in rapid change and growth. This rapid change has had implications on not only the way organizations are run but also the pace at which they are run. Thanks to the capabilities of ERP, companies now have the ability to break down barriers between the business and the customer. As innovation in the space continues, new plans and ideas are being developed that promise to further improve the way businesses operate. The following are the top ERP trends for 2017 that are predicted to shake the ERP landscape.

1. Cloud computing will become essential: With traditional on-premises ERP systems, the company is required to manage much of the processes and information including, but not limited to; data, operating systems, networking, storage and disaster recovery.

With cloud ERP solutions, companies are only needed to manage data and applications. Not only does this cut down on infrastructure costs, as businesses do not need to staff employees dedicated to managing infrastructure, but it also offers businesses greater flexibility — since the only requirement is a steady internet connection. This in turn means that employees will have access to vital information from anywhere they have internet access.

2. More and more ERP choices: ERP systems were designed to tackle specific business processes. With the growth of cloud ERP solutions, companies can now easily integrate their cloud-based ERP system with other cloud-based solutions, such as CRM, expense management, and other software solutions that help drive efficiency. This, along with competitive pricing, leaves the customer spoiled for choice when looking for an ERP solution. A by-product of this evolution to easy integration, has been the adoption of ERP systems by smaller, mid-size organizations because of the value provided at such an affordable cost.

3. Big Data makes analysis easier: Big Data allows companies to analyze large sets of data with more precision than ever before, in order to uncover real-time customer trends and patterns. Whereas companies traditionally were forced to rely on financial and sales operations analysts for macro customer reporting, Big Data allows companies to identify discrete trend changes to help find new market opportunities. Big Data is also used to manage inventory and run price optimizations.

4. IoT will continue to grow: As more objects are embedded within software, sensory and other network technology to transmit data – i.e. ATMs, smartwatches, modern cars – the quicker manufacturers will be able to connect to these items remotely.

Connecting remotely also allows manufacturers to access information which will allow them to make improvements and optimize supply chain and production developments in real time. This also cuts the excess fat from a manufacturing standpoint, as the need for human interaction with data and machinery will continue to lessen. Processes automated by IoT technology will keep plant operations running smoothly and on-schedule as manufacturing work will no longer require manual supervision or intervention to get the job done.

5. Instant innovation: With the recent advancements in cloud computing, the amount of time it takes companies to go from ideation to market adoption has gotten shorter and shorter. Interfaces are faster, cleaner and more accurate – in both office and mobile applications. This new ability to suddenly disrupt markets and business models with simple applications allows ERP vendors to meet and exceed market demands as they happen, with low setup fees, where traditional changes were more costly and lengthy.

Social media’s integration into ERP solutions is growing – and will continue to grow. Social networking allows companies to connect with customers in real time, and enables them to analyze and report on the company’s social activity. This lends itself to even quicker and cheaper innovation as companies can now quickly identify trends in customer and prospect sentiments, and thus more effectively strategize on capturing that social audience.

6. Artificial intelligence becomes less artificial: As artificial intelligence technology grows, so does its ERP applications. Artificial intelligence is a “smart solution” that learns and improves with time. For example, with maintenance, a digital assistant is able to assist a service technician by performing root cause analysis for corrective maintenance issues. The digital assistant’s understanding of performance, technical structure and maintenance history, as well as how the equipment should perform based on similar units, allows it to answer the technician’s questions with evidence-based recommendations.

Artificial intelligence will quickly become an important part of business functions. For instance, artificial intelligence will reduce operational costs and effort involved with low-level routine tasks, such as generating invoices and sending purchase orders. This will help companies shift their focus to more innovative, creative and analytical tasks.

7. Better ERP security: As technologies evolve, the security required to keep data safe is becoming more critical. The volume and sophistication of data breaches to both intellectual property and customer information will continue to increase, as more of this vital data is stored in the cloud. Cloud ERP solutions offer top-notch data protection with sophisticated security features, and committed ERP solution providers. Company access to central admin panels and 24/7 support from ERP solution providers allow any issue to be resolved quicker than with traditional ERP solutions.

8. Connected ERP, CRM, and BI: The rise of cloud-based business management platforms enable organizations to access the data they need – across practices and processes – in a single, end-to-end platform. No longer do organizations need disparate systems to run their business.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is one such innovative platform. Dynamics 365 provides enterprise ERP, CRM, and BI capabilities through purpose-built, seamlessly integrated business applications. These applications consolidate data into one platform, allowing the organization to manage business-specific processes, and gain total visibility into business operations and performance.

These ERP trends for 2017 present exciting opportunities for innovation and advancement. For questions on how best to prepare your business to seamlessly evolve with these changes, contact Hitachi Solutions today.

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