We live in the world of petabytes.
The face of ERP integrated enterprise resource management systems that we are so well familiar with is undergoing changes together with a technological evolution, which is a prerequisite for significant changes in the world of business. Where are ERP systems at present and where are they heading?
The trend for personalisation and customised adjustments has also covered the sphere of integrated computer systems. The solutions being integrated nowadays take into consideration not only the unique nature of a given enterprise, but also of a specific industry, links with the latest technological novelties (e.g. enterprise mobility), and an innovative approach to conducting business (outsourcing).
The ERP systems produced today, e.g. by SAP AG, Oracle, or Microsoft, are based on highly sophisticated software that can be developed virtually in any way possible and expanded, according to the adopted direction of a company’s activity and its needs. Implementing an ERP is seen as investing in the future and optimising business processes. According to the data collected by Panorama Consulting Solutions, as many as 63% of the companies that have implemented this system are satisfied with their choice. What is the shape of today’s market of integrated systems that support the management of companies?
Dedicated ERP solutions
The ERP systems are more and more frequently used in the automotive industry. Strong competition is the driving force behind establishing market advantage, based on state-of-the-art technologies. Manufacturers of cars, parts, and components, as well as importers and car service workshops put emphasis on computerisation and find it highly beneficial. One example of such industry-related solutions is applications available on the market that collect and analyse shopping habits of consumers, which constitute an effective forecasting tool for marketing purposes and after-sales services, e.g. intended for clients at showrooms.
The need for optimising and arranging business processes, both in large companies and in smaller business units, has orientated the development of ERP systems towards enhanced accessibility, flexibility and a lower price. Such solutions have become an indispensable element, even when managing small businesses. In a quick response to such demand, system providers have introduced computer systems into their portfolio that are easy to operate and offer good scalability, intended to computerise key areas of activity (workflow, finances, controlling, project management, as well as distribution and sales).
One of the factors behind the success of the integrated computer systems that support business processes is the afore-mentioned scalability, which practically means that the client receives a uniquely configured system, designed on the basis of an audit aimed at helping the supplier recognise the needs, expectations, the directions a company wants to develop, as well as all business processes taking place in such a company.
In order to satisfy business expectations, system providers do not limit their offer to creating systems based on the components offered by manufacturers exclusively. They want to meet the expectations of clients and build their own solutions aimed at adding new functionalities to ERP systems. Some providers of ERP systems have focused on platforms with additional applications designed by their partners and authorised by ERP manufacturers, which has become a significant sector of business for some of them. Similarly to e-shops, such as AppStore, there are hundreds of new solutions waiting in line, e.g. in SAP Store, which can quickly respond to the changing business expectations.
The basic expectation of business is the need for access to the most important information, regardless of the place we are at. Today, it is hard to imagine a smartphone without an email client, which makes looking for safe and stable possibilities to transfer some business processes onto mobile equipment one of the key directions for the evolution of ERP systems. The possibility of ensuring the active use of ERP systems in place of the currently implemented monitoring solutions has become the primary goal.
Communication 2.0: Internet of Things and M2M
Internet of Things is an advanced concept gaining momentum, in which objects for everyday use can communicate with each other and with the user, via a wireless network. According to Gartner, there will be 26 billion devices operating on the basis of IoT, in 2020. This means that each resident of this planet will have 3 of such devices.
It is also estimated that the use of this technology will have a significant impact on the shape of subsequent generations of ERP systems, as they will acquire data from an ever-growing number of sources, including smart objects. Thanks to the enhanced analytical possibilities and the support of Big Data, it will be possible to offer much more detailed and accurate business analyses.
The quintessence of Internet of Things is auto-driving cars capable of driving on roads without the driver. At present the following companies have announced their own projects: Tesla Motors, Apple, Google, and so have classic car producers such as Audi, Mercedes or BMW.
The Machine to Machine (M2M) communication is another trend that offers similar perspectives as IoT. It enables “communication” between various devices, using radio-waves or the Internet.
According to the forecast by IDC, revenues generated by M2M will have increased by 24 per cent, on average, by 2017. It is currently an ever-growing trend that, with time, will find more and more applications. Both in business and in everyday life.
Despite its growing significance for the world of business, Big Data still offers huge and unexplored potential that remains dormant in petabytes of collected data. When combined with the data collected by ERP systems, Big Data offers unique business possibilities. Its biggest strength is the analysis of business processes and collected data. Based on such information, one can answer questions concerning potential savings, company’s development, or discover ways of establishing business advantages on the market.
Integration and automation
The world is continuously striving for integration and a virtually complete synergy between our life and the objects intended for everyday use. Consumers demand synchronisation of their calendars, contacts, photos, and files, so as to make them available anywhere and at any time. This trend is becoming much more visible in the field of ERP systems, as well.
State-of-the-art technological achievements make it possible to look in the future of the ERP market with optimism and forecast its dynamic development.