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ERP Software Trends for 2012

Among the trends in ERP software this year, the most touted may be the continuing strong emergence of SaaS ERP. As Forrester Research analyst, China Martens notes in a recent post, “It’s now the norm for clients to ask us about SaaS ERP. In fact, it’s unusual to field a call where SaaS isn’t mentioned.”

This reinforces an earlier post in ERP Software Blog that cites the rise of SaaS ERP as a trend for the year:

SaaS solutions first became widely accepted within the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software market; however, in recent years the growth of SaaS Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software systems is accelerating and analysts predict continued growth of SaaS ERP systems through at least 2012. SaaS ERP applications have matured to the point where ERP as a service is a strong consideration for many companies looking to upgrade their ERP applications. For most companies, the hosted delivery model requires no initial cash outlay for IT resources, a faster software implementation, on-demand scalability, and improved ROI. These factors collectively create a material reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO) and acceleration of time-to-market benefits realization.

A post in the Strategic Information Group blog wags a finger at a Forbes.com post that smacked of the “death of ERP” mania (comparing it to the “death of Paul” rumors that dogged the Beatles for years), specifically citing SaaS ERP as a rebuttal: “The fact is, the established principles of ERP systems are being converted to new deployment methods like SaaS and the cloud, and to new devices like smart phones and tablets.”

 Other important trends being noticed this year include:

  • The development of mobile applications with ERP software functionality
  • Greater scrutiny being applied to the ERP software selection process
  • A diminution of “do it yourself” ERP software projects
  • Realignment of ERP software to business objectives
  • The enhancement of ERP software with social media capabilities
  • More user-friendly ERP software

Among SaaS ERP software vendors, Martens sketches a quartet of common themes she sees as trends:

  • Repurposing existing applications by expanding the scope of an existing small and midsized business product to take it upmarket or taking functionality from an existing application suite to create a new enterprise application
  • Determining infrastructure options, such as whether to provide platform as a service or integration as a service, and if so, whether to develop these products internally or with third-party providers
  • Establishing application showcases as a means of creating an ecosystem around SaaS ERP software
  • Acquiring SaaS software resources and expertise to expand their footprint

In introducing his company’s annual ERP survey, Michael Burns, president of independent consultant 180 Systems, takes a longitudinal view, looking back to the turn of the century:

For the past 12 years it has been a buyer’s market for ERP systems. But today business has picked up and vendors feel less compelled to sweeten their deals. I consider ERP vendors to be a bellwether for the economy because organizations usually don’t invest in their systems unless things are going well and they are confident about the future. So what’s good for the ERP vendors is good for all of us.

That’s a trendline we can surely endorse.

Posted by the Epicor Social Media Team

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