In the past year, we have seen many trends that were once on the horizon come to fruition. These trends encompass many aspects of business, but technology trends—especially those that impact enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems—are at the forefront. Here, we look at three trends specifically impacting ERPs and how they may affect the average small to mid-sized business (SMB).
Three ERP Trends of Note
Cloud ERP has become a must for many SMBs, especially those committed to growth. Flexibility, near instantaneous data updates, real-time visibility, and anywhere access provide a solid platform from which companies can expand their customer base and sales.
Cloud ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) offers many advantages for businesses seeking efficient and flexible management of their operations. One key benefit is enhanced accessibility, as cloud-based systems enable users to access critical business data and applications from anywhere with an internet connection, fostering remote collaboration and adaptability. The scalability of cloud ERP allows businesses to easily adjust their resources based on changing needs, ensuring cost-effectiveness and optimal utilization.
Moreover, automatic updates and maintenance relieve organizations from the burden of managing software infrastructure, promoting seamless and up-to-date functionality. The cloud-based model also enhances data security through centralized and often specialized management, reducing the risk of data loss or breaches. Ultimately, Cloud ERP empowers businesses with streamlined processes, real-time insights, and improved agility in a dynamic and competitive business environment.
The continuing adoption of cloud ERP seems assured. With its robust capabilities, lower maintenance cost, and better security, companies moving to ERPs almost always choose cloud-based platforms.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI dominates the headlines. Since ChatGPT’s launch in late 2022, and Google Bard in 2023, AI is the talk of the town—mostly people asking, “How can we use this thing?” Business owners see the advantages in terms of efficiency and productivity, but many cannot grasp how AI can be used for their business needs.
The AI incorporated within your ERP system can help you accomplish many tasks. It can automate routine steps including routing documents for approvals, reminding customers of invoices, and more. AI-powered tools can also dig deeper into your company’s data, offering reports that can, in turn, provide better information and added insights. Because generative AI can do more than simply regurgitate pre-programmed answers to questions, it can become a powerful adjunct in your quest to make better data-based decisions.
Most ERP platforms now include some form of AI, with companies rushing to add generative AI features. As the year progresses, it will be interesting to see how the use of AI in ERP systems adds benefits for SMBs.
Every industry is unique. From healthcare to construction, companies have asked for ERPs that easily adapt to their industries. And ERP providers are listening. Although the basic business models still exist, one trend worth noting is the rise of industry-focused ERPs. This is a trend that seems to be gaining strength, with new editions of Acumatica, for example, providing industry-specific features.
Why the push for industry-focused ERPs? Customizing a basic ERP can be costly and time-consuming. Even with the widespread adoption of APIs, which enable grouping or chaining together different software to create a unique, needs-based system, companies were often forced to hire programmers to build custom modules for their specific industry requirements.
Purchasing pre-made, industry-specific ERPs eliminates this need and makes it much easier for small companies to migrate to an ERP. Industry-focused ERPs are a hot trend and one we believe will continue for a long time.
Are You Ready to Move to an ERP?
If your current business accounting software has started to feel limiting, and you are considering moving to an ERP system, give Emerald TC a call. We can help you with ERP selection consulting, customization, and more. Contact us today.