Despite the focus on digital transformation, the value traditional approaches bring to the organisation cannot be underestimated. By having a solid foundation underpinned by proven business best practices, the organisation is in a much better position to roll out more innovative solutions. In this environment, enterprise resource planning (ERP) has become more critical than ever in managing all the elements effectively.
In many respects, the emergence of the cloud as a viable business platform has heralded in the digital era. This signalled the start of a behavioural change in IT departments. Whether you call it software-as-a-service, virtualisation, or hosted solutions, the shift between on-site and off-site solutions management has irrevocably transformed enterprise.
No longer required to fulfil an IT support and maintenance role, technology departments could now focus on bringing more innovation into the organisation by being able to develop more customised technology solutions. With cloud (whether it be in a private or hybrid model) simplifying the administrative hassle, organisations could focus more on product differentiation.
Along for the ride
As cloud implementations grew in prominence across industry sectors, so too did the need to adopt more traditional business practices. Companies who did not effectively analyse the business impact of cloud on existing systems and processes were found to struggle while those that took a more considered approach reaped the rewards.
Under pressure to align more closely with the cloud approach, ERP as a traditional business approach required a more nuanced look at itself. Gone were the days where on-premise was the priority. Cloud computing pushed mobility as a growth pillar. In this dynamic segment, ERP had little choice but to find a way of pulling information from several hosted data sources. Mobile employees and customers meant ERP had to evolve to still deliver business value.
Fortunately, it has not been a case of ‘me too’ strategy when it comes to ERP and how it is incorporating digital transformation elements. Instead, ERP is providing executives with the best of both worlds (the traditional and the digital).
Being such a mission-critical system, Legacy ERP is not an easy one to transform into a digital process. But thanks to the growing emergence of Modern ERP that are able to provide real-time data analysis, and agility where processes are being adapted on a continual basis. This leaves many organisations having to customise and tweak their legacy enterprise resources to be more in tune with digital requirements.
With the likes of predictive analytics, machine-learning, and the Internet of Things becoming part of the ERP puzzle, decision-makers are realising the need to grow into a more dynamic (technology-driven) environment.
This shift provides not only competitive benefits but also results in cost-efficiencies. Companies can more quickly adapt to external factors using a more fluid ERP system with their strategies (and, per implication their products and services) following suit.
Granted, there is still a long way to go to effectively transform this vital business system, but the signs are there that many are considering this new environment.
By Stuart Scanlon, Managing Director of epic ERP