Panorama Consulting, a Colorado-based consulting firm specializing in larger ERP implementations, often does research and writing on ERP that is applicable to the business world as a whole, including our marketplace of small- to mid-size businesses. In a recent white paper entitled “20/20 Panoramic View of the ERP Industry” they’ve identified 9 trends in business/technology that they believe will shape the ERP industry – and thus the companies who buy ERP solutions.
In our next two posts, we’ll share some of their views and predictions, beginning with these…
- The “consumerization of IT” trend will reach ERP systems. With so many younger workers entering the workforce, do you really believe that today’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter users – the always connected generation – will long tolerate the old “green screen” and AS/400 style of computing paradigms in their daily work? Not likely. Attractive user interfaces that more resemble today’s consumer technologies, along with simpler functionality and quick access to critical business information are likely to become increasingly prevalent. And it is estimated that today’s “Millenials” will be 46% of the workforce by 2020.
- Mobility will go mainstream. While talk about Software-as-a-Service and cloud technologies are all the buzz lately, the real change is being seen in the use of mobile devices. Phones, tablets and handhelds – from the warehouse to the front office – will eventually become more prevalent than desktop PCs. Here again, younger users’ familiarity with phones and handheld devices will push the trend forward. And with a trend towards more part-time, mobile and contract employees (it is said there will be more of these types of workers than there will be full-time workers by 2020) – the need for mobile ERP software can only be expected to grow.
- Businesses will focus on business intelligence, big data and analytics. This trend is already in motion. After years of collecting data, companies are moving toward deeper analysis of it. This takes today’s simple, static business reports to a whole new level of dashboards, drill-downs and business intelligence. Most ERP systems today already include tools for this type of both ad hoc and more complex analysis. Of course, users will need to learn how to use these tools, but that’s coming as well through a greater implementation emphasis on user training.
- The ERP software “suite” will be built one solution at a time. ERP buyers are often faced with a choice between complete “suites” of software that purport to address all their needs, and more narrowly focused solutions. This is often characterized as a one-size-fits-all versus best-of-breed contest. Cloud versus on-premise is one flavor of this theme: cloud solutions tending to fit the one-size model, versus the depth and robustness (and customization capabilities) of a dedicated, on-premise ERP solution.
- Organizations will finally embrace organizational change management. This has always been a challenge confronting ERP implementers and clients alike. A change in system is the perfect time to revisit all your processes and make changes accordingly. It’s too often easier said than done, or lip service is paid to it. Recently though, Panorama found that organizational change was the top reason that ERP projects went over schedule (i.e. late). The suggestion is that companies are actually focusing on this important issue (thus delaying projects). As well, we can see “technology” being much less the issue (as opposed to how things were in the pre-Y2K days) as the tech issues alone reach a point of diminishing returns. In their place, less tangible issues like organizational change management are increasing becoming “the primary differentiators between companies that succeed in their ERP implementations and the ones that fail,” according to Panorama’s report.
In our next post, we’ll look at their remaining conclusions. Stay tuned…