9 ways innovation will change resource-planning

Nov. 2, 2018

Customers' needs are changing. Is your business keeping up? 

The cloud, social technologies, big data and mobile have impacted how traditional ERP systems work.

And new tech trends that shape the future of ERP systems are coming up every year. These disruptive technologies are continually changing how businesses implement and use ERP systems. As more technologies come up, businesses are either forced to conform or be shipped out by the gory winds of change.

What are some of these innovations that could increase the efficiency of your traditional ERP system? Let's explore some...

The Internet of Things (IoT)

Thanks to the IoT, your connected devices—cars, electrical appliances, etc.—can easily transfer data over a network without requiring human interaction. This much we all know. But the IoT is starting to reveal itself as the next megatrend in the world of IT. It has been described as "the third wave of the internet."

ERP systems have the capacity to connect the unstructured data from devices or "things" such as sensors or beacons, to structured data held by businesses. Thus, ERP software systems will become indispensable tools for holding together this Internet of Things. This way, manufacturers will be able to keep track of each and every product, advise the customer and provide additional services

Cobots in ERP

Cobots are quickly becoming vital manufacturing tools. While traditional robotics used to be at the forefront of manufacturers minds, now the attention has turned to cobots because of their competitive benefits.

Traditional, caged-off robots for factory floors cost an average of $22,000-$37,000 per unit. These less adaptable machines take longer for organizations to recoup their investments. Cobots cost around $15,000-$30,000 per machine and have a shorter payback period. 

Industrial adoption for cobots is still not impressive. But, things are expected to change in the next 2-3 years. Currently, the ratio of adoption stands at 70% for cobot sales and 30% only for SMEs. But, it's expected that this ratio will flip in the coming years. This is because cobots perform a number of tasks, irrespective of their state of complexity.

Augmented reality in ERP

Consumers have complicated needs. They want an over-the-top experience with your brand. Although you have invested in CRM software to track customer behavior and offer targeted services, that's not the end of the game. They still want more. They need to experience your products more. That is where organizations need to consider virtual environments that are made possible by augmented reality technology, complementing what your ERP systems are already offering.

Smartphones and tablets, with their crisp screens and built-in cameras and motion sensors, make deployment of AR easier. Head-mounted displays continue to emerge rapidly, especially where hands-free operation is essential.

Wearable technology

In 2016 the wearable technology market was worth $10 billion and by 2019 it is predicted that it will have grown by more than 30%. While much of the attention generated by wearables has focused on consumer propositions like fitness trackers, there are also the host of applications in the workplace. Augmented-reality-enabled ERP software systems will foster hands-free operations that can be of great benefit for many blue-collar workers.

Blockchain finds its way

Blockchain will finally find its place in 2019 and overtake it’s more popular cousin, Bitcoin, despite the latter's recent attention. According to Gartner research, blockchain has grown growing at an impressive rate of over 400% in the last 12 months. And, that's is no surprise owing to its popularity.  

Blockchain is finding its use in the financial industry. It is changing how accountants approach their work. Besides, it is poised to disrupt how processes in other industries run—right from healthcare to entertainment to hospitality—among others.

Use of artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is becoming one of the most popular technologies in 2018. And in the business world, AI retains its disruptive power. Today, everything from customer service and robotics to analytics and marketing is finding better uses of AI. Companies will continue to use AI to improve their processes, increase efficiency and improve communication with customers. This includes faster, cheaper, and smarter automation of everything from emails and content generation to more efficient industrial-manufacturing processes.

Hybrid ERP

The traditional on-premises ERP approach is dwindling. Companies are starting to understand that buying a monolithic physical system is difficult to adapt to your ever-changing needs. Upgraded IT infrastructure is needed to run the on-premises software. Unfortunately, that requires a lot of time and money to buy, install and run the necessary servers and communication network.

But a hybrid system (featuring both on-cloud and on-premise systems) is becoming a more-popular choice, opposed to on-premise or cloud-only ERP solutions.

Best of breed

Single ERP systems that don't allow integration with other third-party systems have dominated the market. However, keen interest has been taken on software associated with specific point solutions such as Workday and Salesforce. Companies are looking for specific functions, with no interest in a full-blown ERP system that takes care of everything.

Big data analytics

Organizations' dependence on IT has grown immensely in recent years. We are generating large volumes of data that had been underutilized in the past. And this data generation will only grow, since a number of users will take advantage of the IoT to connect to the internet. Using analytical tools, organizations can begin to process and analyze data to make predictions that will in inform their future business strategies.

Summing it up

For your organization to stand out, you need to embrace new technology. Otherwise, you will be working with massive ERP systems that are not in sync with the modern business environment. Embracing new technology means improved process and the ability to satisfy the ever-changing customer needs in 2019 and beyond.

Hitendra Rathore is a software analyst and digital marketing executive with Software Suggest.