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5 Predictions for the Future of ERP

Learn how data will drive automation and prediction capabilities in future ERP solutions.

July 13, 2023

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What’s the future of business tools? They must keep pace with the speed of scaling businesses, cater to remote workforces, and be data-focused in order to help drive decision-making. Organizations who want to be leaders in their industry won’t settle for lagging or outdated tools, but are looking for resources that can enhance and transform their business today and into the future.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are powerful tools that can give you complete control and oversight of your business. Whether you’re a start-up making your first product or a large-scale manufacturing plant, an ERP is the tool that collects data on the essentials, like materials usage, production time, costs, and shipping time. By synthesizing and displaying that data on easy-to-use dashboards, ERPs don’t just show you the big picture, but surface where you can make improvements to increase your productivity, decrease your downtime, and improve metrics all around.

The Evolution of ERP

ERP vendors know they need to evolve capabilities and features to keep one step ahead of business operations. For example, many organizations are moving their assets and workflows to the cloud, and leaving behind on-premise systems, and modern ERP systems are keeping up with that trend as well, evolving from on-premise hardware to cloud-based systems that offer more accessibility, flexibility, and scalability.

As teams grow and become more distributed across the globe, it’s crucial to have a management system that can be accessed anywhere through a web browser on a laptop, tablets, or smartphone. Cloud-based ERPs also offer more storage and the ability to easily scale in a cloud environment, meaning that they can handle the increases in data, applications, and other tools that growing businesses need. Cloud networks are also more secure, ensuring that assets are kept safe.

Getting a full picture of your organization’s operations means collecting data from all corners of your business. Today’s ERP systems are much more adept at not only handling that data, but integrating with various applications and systems across your organization to gather that data as well. This happens through open-source tools and standards-based architecture, with systems connected via APIs, allowing ERPs to pull in data from financial systems, CRM systems, supply chain and shipping sources, materials costs, sales and marketing, and even from HR. 95% of organizations who use an ERP say it has improved their business processes.

Organizations need data to drive their decisions and forecasting in today’s unpredictable economy. For example, in our recent report on the Voice of the Essential Manufacturing Worker,” the biggest challenge to manufacturing today is the increasing cost of raw materials. By utilizing the insights an ERP generates from across the organization, you can find ways to reduce those costs, become more efficient with those raw materials, and better anticipate those rising costs and their impact.

Five Predictions for the Future of ERP

ERP systems will continue to evolve to meet the needs of scaling organizations who require fast, efficient ways to track all aspects of their business. The following predictions are some of the ways that ERP systems will continue to grow into the future.

1: ERP Will Incorporate More Data Support and Insights

Data is only going to increase going forward and organizational leaders will need all different types of data to help them make better decisions. The good thing is that new business tools and devices are poised to generate those large amounts of data and by moving to cloud-based systems, organizations are prepared to handle that increase. Because of this, we’ll see ERP systems evolve into Data as a Service (DaaS) solutions, robust software that will be able to pull in large amounts of data, synthesize it, store it, and analyze it for intelligence and insights.

2: ERP Will Become More Customizable

ERP systems shouldn’t be rigid and limit companies to out-of-the-box features. Every business is different and has different aspects of their operations they need to track. That’s why we’ll see ERP solutions offer more personalization, whether it be customizing pre-built features, or being able to create custom dashboards and automations through low-code or no-code solutions. ERPs will even be able to offer industry and market data that business leaders can pull into their own analysis for better benchmarking.

3: ERP Will Offer Better Prediction and Automation

All of this gathered data can, of course, contribute to better predictions and forecasting, from materials usage, to throughput time, to equipment maintenance, to even staff utilization. Factories that leverage big data and technology to inform their operational decisions have seen an 85% improvement in forecasting accuracy.

Certainly an ERP can analyze the data it receives and provide business leaders insights into where they should make changes to improve efficiencies and increase margins. But what if the ERP system could automate those adjustments as well? That’s one of the areas where ERPs are headed: monitoring and analyzing business and market data in real time — like supply chain disruptions that may impact the production pipeline — then making automated adjustments to recalibrate accordingly, saving time, effort, and money.

4: ERP Will Contribute to Larger Business Initiatives and Collaboration

ERP systems of the past may have focused more on logs and record keeping. And while modern ERPs do collect data from across an organization, they also provide valuable insights and information for everyone in the business to access and learn from. As such, ERP can contribute to much larger initiatives that can help businesses scale and achieve their goals. For organizations who want to improve their sustainability efforts or regulatory compliance, ERPs can provide valuable insights into how to do so. An ERP system can also be a "town square" for collaboration and interaction amongst teams and business units, as well as with suppliers and business partners. All of this can contribute to improving an organization’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives.

5: ERP Will Help Manage Organizational Rate of Change

Considering all of these factors, we’ll see ERP systems being able to play a much larger role in a company’s overall growth. Not only will it be able to analyze and make changes at the operational level, but it could feasibly make changes at the leadership level as well. By tracking operational efficiency and benchmarking against market trends, ERP systems could make decisions about overall growth strategy, talent needs, investment opportunities, and an overall approach to business in the long term.

Positioning Your Business for the Future

What’s the future of business tools? ERP solutions can not only transform businesses today but will help them grow into the future with more data that can help drive better decision-making, more insights into how to improve productivity and resource management, and more automation and innovation to increase efficiency. If you want to be part of the future of business, make sure using a modern ERP system is integral to your operations.