Back to the future with ERP

By Nick Kershaw on
With all the recent changes in the ERP world… what does ERP actually mean now?

I hesitate to say it, but ERP still means the same as it has since the name was first coined in the early 1990s. Organisations are still implementing ERP systems to provide control and visibility and to standardize business processes.  Organisations must be able to adapt to business-driven changes such as geographical growth, restructuring, and business-model evolution and still serve internal and external customers quickly.

Interestingly, the need within organisations for an ERP system today is even greater than it has ever been. The need for "one version of the truth", broad functional capability and data accuracy is even more imperative in the times of harsh financial constraint that we find ourselves today. ERP systems provide a view of a company and all its parts as a connected whole, rather than silos of activity.

Many new and exciting capabilities are grabbing the headlines - mobility, business intelligence, in-memory processing. However, without the underpinning foundation of a fully integrated ERP solution all these technologies will merely provide you with an answer that is less accurate in a fraction of the time.

When choosing an ERP system, 88% of CIOs prefer an integrated IT system. These promise seamless and more stable business processes. Only 11% of IT directors prefer to map business processes based on a best-of-breed approach that uses multiple tailored solutions. This is according to the “ERP Trend Report 2013,” for which Hamburg consultancy Softselect surveyed some 340 small to medium-sized companies.

For this reason it is obvious that a solution that can offer a solid ERP backbone, coupled with native integration to a business intelligence capability, deployed on any device, in real (or near-real) time, is a game-changing business tool.
One of the more recent advances in the ERP world has been the evolution of template or ‘best practice’ based solutions which enable small and medium sized companies to take advantage of solutions which were traditionally only available to their larger brethren. These solutions enable smaller companies to take advantage of the best practice experience and templates that have been “baked into” the overall solution therefore facilitating a rapid implementation, the benefits of global customer experience, lower project risk and of course lower cost.

In summary, ERP is still the software foundation that enterprises utilise in order to achieve business excellence and innovation.

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