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ERP is not what it used to be, declared Gartner in a 2019 report detailing the fourth era in the evolution of ERP. The focus of ERP is no longer only on enterprise-wide planning but has expanded into a wider ecosystem encompassing customers, suppliers, partners, competitors and stakeholders. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2023, a majority of ERP systems in the enterprise will incorporate at least one fourth-era functionality.
So, what will this evolution look like in 2022? As an open-source, license-free ERP system provider, at metasfresh, we are continually mapping the ERP market for new features, capabilities and trends that can enhance business value for our customers. Here, then, are some of the key trends that we believe will define the ERP market over the next year.
Mobile ERP Becomes the Norm
As with automation and intelligence, mobility will no longer be optional. The shift to a predominantly remote work model has only highlighted the need for anytime-anywhere access to critical business data.
Mobile ERP will provide always-on remote access to real-time data and insights on all critical workflows, allowing employees to conduct back-end and front-end tasks from their phones. This shift to a mobile interface will also increase collaboration across a dispersed workforce, thereby boosting agility and productivity.
At the same time, mobile ERP also represents a new security challenge for CISOs. In order to secure mobile ERP access to a remote workforce, CISOs will turn to digital-era security technologies, such as multi-factor identification, to establish employee identity before enabling access to sensitive information, as well as to VPNs to validate unfamiliar devices and Wi-Fi networks and secure ERP data.
Rethinking ERP Re-platforming
If the ERP industry’s marketing orthodoxy is to be believed, ERP re-platforming is the
essential first step to digital transformation, innovation, and a new digital future. For instance, two major software vendors are trying to convert their customer base over to new offerings. SAP wants its customers to transition from SAP R/3 to S/4HANA, a changeover with the costs and complexities of an entirely new implementation.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s transformation of its Dynamics NAV solution to Dynamics 365 Business Central is putting pressure on customers to shift to the cloud despite there being “no option to individually customise the system to the needs of the customer.”
Benefits curve for application software and opportunity cost. —Source: diginomica.com
Customers, however, seem to be pushing back against this constant incitement to migrate, upgrade and/or re-platform. In the case of S/4HANA, a next-generation solution launched in 2015, a recent survey of the two of the largest SAP user groups globally revealed that less than 20% have gone live with the new solution. The reasons for this lack of interest include high costs, lack of a business case, lack of an immediate need, and uncertainty about functionality.
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