Over the past year, enterprise resource planning systems have certainly come a long way in terms of demand and growth within the enterprise market.
According to the Aberdeen Group, 93 percent of enterprises that implemented ERP systems saw improvements with their systems across a variety of metrics like cost reductions, schedule performance, headcount reduction or redeployment and quality improvements. However, what stands out the most, is the growing relationship between ERP and new and evolving technologies like AI, IoT and postmodern ERP.
Organizations are continuing to see the many advantages of developing a roadmap and strategy that leads to digital transformation (i.e. the ability to leverage the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), machine learning, AI, big data or analytics). This movement will continue to drive their approach through 2018 or organizations will face the consequences of being left behind by competitors.
From an ERP perspective, the combined driving force of these innovative technologies will continue to re-shape how enterprises utilize their IT solutions to provide increased efficiency, process and productivity inside their organization – something for many have been left untapped.
While the industry has been discussing many of these leading-edge technologies, here are the “big three” technologies which will play a significant role in re-shaping how we think of ERP in 2018.
1. AI in Practice
Gartner predicts that by 2020, AI will be a top five investment priority for more than 30 percent of CIOs. Look for AI’s relationship with ERP systems to come to the forefront. It will be increasingly embedded in ERP systems to automate processes, identify pain points and predict when technologies might fail or require maintenance. IT leadership will be able to share the information collected through AI with their C-suite, enabling them to better align with business goals.
This increase in AI-driven initiatives will also cause organizations to experience data overload. To generate the most useful analysis and insights to attain their business objectives, storage optimization and consolidation must be a priority, with a special focus on backup capabilities.
In 2018 we will see the manufacturing industry take lead to invest heavily and reap the benefits of AI and ERP. Since this industry regularly deals with quality insurance, manufacturing organizations can use machine learning and AI to predict more accurate timelines, product quantity, predictive maintenance upkeep and eliminate frequent human error in the process. This will ensure greater customer satisfaction, while also reducing costs and associated production time expenses.
2. Postmodern ERP Helping Make Smarter Business Decisions
One of the many positive side-effects to postmodern ERP is that businesses are unwilling to wait for IT to build customizations into legacy ERP systems, tech-savvy users are engaging SaaS application providers on their own to accomplish their goals. In fact, Gartner estimates that 38 percent of technology purchases are being managed, controlled, and defined by business leaders and not by the IT department.
In 2018, ERP will become not just a higher priority for C-suite executives, but it will become more integrated throughout all technology applications. From a business perspective, ERP systems will uncover valuable insights to help enterprises across industries make smarter decisions to streamline and enhance business capabilities. From a functional perspective, better integrated ERP systems will help IT leaders discern application usage and peak activity time to help them understand where – and how – they can save money.
3. Embracing IoT with Caution
By 2020, it’s predicted that B2B spending on IoT technologies, apps and solutions will reach $267 billion. As more devices and products become connected to the Internet, more data can be automatically funneled into the ERP system. This gives customers better oversight over things such as the supply chain, shipping partners, and application performance to name a few. However, there’s mass amounts of connectivity and standardization issues that enterprises must overcome before they can reap the benefits of the relationship between ERP and IoT.
For one, businesses will need to look at how they’re going to collect and then use that data. Right now, IT departments are drowning in data points, but are unable to apply any analysis. Manufacturing companies, for example, have several devices that are constantly collecting information from each of their machines; however, they’re not yet at a point where they’re able to capture the collective dataset in real-time and generate an analysis that will help them better determine where, when and how they can cut costs.
In 2018, we’ll see businesses considering new ways to house that data (likely in a warehouse) and push it out to where it’s needed and when it’s needed. Managed services can help overcome these challenges by consolidating applications and providing a single pane through which to manage an organization’s IT operations.
It’s clear that 2018 will be a year of integration and implementation of these new technologies for ERP systems. While IT leaders will have to communicate and strategize accordingly with C-suite executives to ensure their technology roadmap is aligned, the benefits uncovered from these new exciting integrations will provide endless data-driven insight.
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