In our preceding post we listed 5 of the 9 trends that Panorama Consulting in a recent white paper described as likely developments in the ongoing development of ERP systems and the needs of the customers who buy them. Their full report can be downloaded here.
In today’s concluding post we’ll look at their last four predicted trends…
6. ERP vendors will offer flexible deployment options. This basically means the ability to choose among methods by which to deploy and use your system. We’ll increasingly see opportunities to choose from – or switch from – cloud and/or on-premise systems. The fast-start, agile and low-cost-of-entry cloud solutions can get a company up and running quickly. On the other hand, on-premise systems are typically more robust, much more customizable and, particularly for manufacturers – a more complete solution. Clients will want both options, as well as scalability and timing options (like for adding users). Vendors will need to deliver multiple options.
7. Best-of-breed and two-tier solutions will regain popularity. Single ERP systems aren’t always the best solution for all firms. Sometimes, two-tiered, or best-of-breed, or even more than one solution is the right solution. As integration among systems becomes easier and more common, it makes sense to use specialized systems to run, say, the warehouse, and then integrate that back to the ERP accounting system, even when they’re not from the same vendor. It’s about finding the right fit for your Vendors who can provide such one-stop-shopping solutions will best serve their clients’ best interests.
8. Experienced, independent ERP consultants will be in high demand. Vendors with no direct software affiliation will gain favor. It’s worth noting that Panorama itself is one of these firms, and thus might be guilty of a little bias here. Then again, our own firm – which provides a variety of solutions from multiple ERP vendors – can be guilty of our own, similar bias. Either way, the point is: a vendor offering a solution from just one software vendor is more likely to be like the “hammer” that views everything in the world as a nail. Whether the consultant is truly vendor-independent, or multi-dependent, clients will be able to take advantage of these consultants’ expertise from their independent or “multi-lingual” viewpoints.
9. Implementations will be all about business. Forget features/benefits. Forget “technology.” (Remember when the most important thing about an ERP system was that it ran under Windows?) The real issue is (and in our views always has been) about the business. Business processes… workflows… strategy… competitive advantages… turning data into information and turning information into the ability to make well thought out business decisions – these are the things that truly matter. Or should. As Panorama points out, “the real winners will be the ones that force their ERP implementations to fit in the context of their overall business vision and goals.” Focus on business process reengineering, organizational change management and benefits realization – that’s where the real, biggest and longest-term ROI will always be found.
We think the folks at Panorama have done a pretty fair job of predicting ERP’s future. What do you think…?