What ERP trends would I like to see in 2019?

ERP is mature as an industry and as a software most of us use to manage our businesses every day.  ERP captures transactions, recording them in an audit trail and linking those transactions so that the result of one is immediately available for a subsequent transaction.  Some of the latest improvements in ERP have been in analytics and business intelligence and I hope to see much more here. Beyond capturing data, we need to be able to use that data to improve our businesses.

Decision support

We use ERP to support optimal decisions already.  There are many developing tools that ought to be supplied within ERP and now are available from outside ERP.  Machine learning uses statistical models to improve performance. If this was available within ERP, every organization could use the analysis of their own data to aid with decision-making.  Even the smallest business has thousands of data points, and mid-size businesses will have millions of points that will yield statistically sound results.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is another technology that can aid ERP decision support.  Sensors in sold products can collect data from customers’ usage to improve future product design and support of current products.  Sensors within a business can use existing equipment status and current inventory to suggest the optimal process to start when the current batch is completed.

Data presentation

Data visualization is another technology that presents data in charts and tables in the best way for some intended use.  Current BI within ERP can produce charts and tables too but most of us are not experts in the field. How much better would our presentations be if we could see several ways to present the same data and choose one we like?  What if we could input a profile of our audience and the intended result of our presentation and hone the possible output? Our goal always is to communicate meaning and knowledge in a way that works. To work, that meaning and knowledge must be received by our audiences in a way that matches the intentions we hope to express.

Integration within and between clouds

When we use ERP from a cloud, our providers must protect our data keeping it separate from other businesses within that cloud.  The problem is that when we want to integrate two cloud systems, each one has layers of protection that inhibit or even prevents the integration we desire.  Our accounting and fulfillment systems might be part of our cloud ERP. While our sales come from an internet storefront system. We can use middleware to convert the output from the storefront into input for ERP and vice-versa.  Why have none of the ERP systems developed direct interfaces to some of the more popular storefront systems? Why haven’t any ERP systems developed their own storefront? Storefront technology is only one example of systems we already use that need to integrate with ERP.

Where will these hoped-for improvements come from?  

We should look for partners that use these new technology tools with ERP creating blended systems.  We can hope for computation from some of the specialized new systems to force our current ERP providers to improve their offerings.  We all need to understand new technologies well enough to see where they can provide a competitive edge for our business and pressure our ERP providers to implement those technologies quickly.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller

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