ERP Trends for 2021 and Beyond

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What are the ERP trends to look out for in the coming year? In my opinion, no amount of crystal ball gazing into the future is going to mean anything without reference to what we have just been through – the significance of which will be felt for years to come.

The worldwide pandemic has had many effects – both inside and outside the business community, but the most notable is the way it has stripped out the insubstantial to reveal the essentials – the rock and foundations of what we build our lives on.

Socially and economically Covid 19 revealed inequalities that society urgently needs to tackle. It also revealed the key role technology is playing in both our private and working lives.

ERP Trends

Access to basic technology like an internet connection is starting to feel like a human right – on the same level as electricity. Meanwhile, cloud business technology is starting to feel like an essential requirement rather than a nice to have.

According to the United Nations half of the people they surveyed at the end of 2020 now shop online more frequently and rely on the internet more for news, health-related information, and digital entertainment with consumers in emerging economies making the biggest shift.

Meanwhile according to Global Workforce Analytics 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021 and using digital technology to do so.

We will only be able to continue this progress if the digital infrastructure is in place. As we saw during the lockdown, those with good digital preparedness moved quickly to support customers while others had some serious catching up to do.

Thinkers, technologists, and financial experts agree.

Take for example the former Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, who in his BBC Reith lecture in December 2020 noted that one of the main challenges governments, regulators, and businesses now face, aside from the pandemic, is how to best use technological innovation to our advantage. He said;

“One of the challenges we have, if we step back from the Covid crisis, the climate crisis, the aftermath of the credit crisis, is something that is very positive but could also be as challenging.[This is] the fourth industrial revolution, the technological revolution, which … has been accelerated by the Covid crisis.”

As Mark Carney goes on to say, it’s not just for the front runners and the early adopters;

“The question is how are we going to channel those technologies in a way that benefits most of society very quickly because the history of previous industrial revolutions is that it takes a very long period of time.”

So, with thought leaders like Mark Carney on board, I can only imagine that 2021 will be about using technology to get us back on our feet and to re-establish any competitive edge that has been lost.

What does this mean for ERP?

Making digital transformation meaningful

This is my number one trend for the year ahead. If digital transformation does not translate into technology that people will use and derive benefit from then there is little point to it.

ERP technology will only continue to be relevant and helpful to companies where it delivers real results.

The main areas will be;

  • AI and Machine Learning advancements which deliver improved outcomes like the invoice scanning systems which are now coming into use.
  • Predictive Analytics which helps businesses work out what will happen in the future, based on data today.

According to David Sweetman, Senior Director, Global Product Marketing SAP S/4HANA

“running an enterprise on data-driven technology alone is not enough to keep up with the competition. Data needs to be converted into insights and connections that fuel a system of automation, split-second fast and informed decision-making, and real-time adaptation to market dynamics.”

We are talking about technology that learns from data and transaction patterns and recommends actions and changes to processes, systematically and automatically.

With Intelligent ERP, all companies have a distinct opportunity to differentiate themselves with best practices, insights, and awareness – embedded into the applications that employees use every day. That level of intelligence is going to be the basis for any real discussion on the future of ERP as we head further into the 2020s.

About In Cloud Solutions

In Cloud Solutions is an SAP Platinum Partner offering ERP software solutions, training, and consultancy to SMEs. Based in the UK In Cloud Solutions are experts in the ERP solution SAP Business ByDesign, cloud-based ERP for mid-sized business. www.incloudsolutions.co.uk

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