Enterprise Resource Planning, commonly referred in an abbreviated form as ERP is a jargon used in the management field for a suite of applications which facilitate the seamless integration and functioning of various business processes within an organization. ERP encompasses modules which cover the entire range of business functions such as: –
- Inventory Management.
- Product Planning and Purchase.
- Supply Chain and Logistics.
- Marketing and Sales.
Organizations today irrespective of their size are facing a challenging situation in the terms of planning and interpretation of the huge volumes of data which is generated on a daily basis through various business processes. The primary role of an ERP application is to collate and organize this humongous chunk of data collected across business functions and analyze it using various inbuilt data analytics and predictive analytics techniques so as to derive a concise and relevant information which can be used to take prudent business decisions thereby making an impact on the business efficacy.
ERP software applications have been in the techno-management space since more than 2 decades now and it has since then seen a lot of evolutionary phases each time enhancing it’s functionality and business intelligence capabilities.
Over the years ERP systems have seen a fundamental shift in the way businesses have integrated them into their structure. The most recent and upcoming trends in the ERP space can be summed up in a single acronym: SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud)
Social ERP: – With the world hooking on the Social media platforms, the next generation of ERP applications have emerged which not only connect the businesses internally but also help them establish a long lasting relationship with their end customers. Social ERP gives the enterprises real-time customer data thereby empowering them to build a strong rapport with their end customers. This will facilitate real-time interaction and collaboration among the various stakeholders and hence reduce the turnaround time for solving business problems.
Mobile ERP: – As it is quite evident from the name “Mobile ERP” applications are designed to give maximum mobility and accessibility to the enterprises. These applications can be accessed from any internet-connected device such as a mobile, tablet irrespective of the location of the device. They give a competitive advantage to the organizations by providing more accurate and real-time data thereby increasing the Quality of the Service, productivity, and customer engagement.
Analytics: – There is little to doubt that BIG DATA and Analytics have become indispensable for the organizations to stay competitive in the current market scenario. Analytics in a crisp language can be explained as methods and techniques employed to analyze the humongous data collected by the organizations through various channels and derive worthwhile output for the stakeholders. It predominantly consists of “Forecasting”, “Predictive analytics” and “Optimization techniques”.
Cloud ERP: – “Cloud” is the buzzword nowadays in the techno-commercial application space and Cloud ERP is very much similar in the terms of functionality and utility to SaaS (Software as a Service). In contrast to the traditional ERP software application, where the software is getting stored on a proprietary server infrastructure, Cloud-based ERP banks upon common servers located outside the premises of the organization thereby offering more accessibility and mobility than the traditional versions. Of course, data security, and privacy are guaranteed by the Cloud vendors.
Cloud-based ERP offer similar functionality in the terms of business productivity as one would expect from a traditional version with added benefits which can be summed up into shrinking IT infrastructure costs, maintenance and support costs, data confidentiality, and accessibility and most important of all the flexibility of “Pay per Use feature”.
The Way forward
With the concept of IoT (Internet of Things) getting introduced to the word thanks to a host of smart wearables, there is a seamless integration and collaboration happening between the humans and the systems. More and more devices will be able to get connected to the internet and hence result is a continuous flow of information between them. This information will become all the more pivotal in driving business decisions. This progression in technology is bound to have an impactful “Impact” on the future of ERP applications.