There are many ERP trends in the marketplace now. As we head into the new decade, a few stand out as leaders for the field. These include customer-focused (customer-centric) ERP, enhanced functionality, and better user interfaces.
Overall Technology Trends Impact ERP Software
There are several over-arching technology trends that impact software development. These trends are impacting ERP development, too.
The last decade saw the evolution and advancement of cloud-based systems as well as advances in natural language programming and predictive analytics. Other technology improvements included the invention of blockchain technology, which allows for secure yet totally transparent record-keeping and much more.
In the world of ERP, these trends have influenced both the ease with which users can adopt and adapt to new software as well as the software’s ability to help users find and utilize the wealth of information contained in the ERP system itself.
Three Important ERP Trends
Trend #1: Customer-Focused ERP
Customer-focused or customer-centric ERP is one of the dominant trends of 2021. Customer-centric ERP focuses on the end customer’s needs rather than force all users to work with the canned package sent to them by the ERP creators. Most ERP software makers enable some customization, but certain ones allow more than others. Plus, some software makers, such as Acumatica, welcome third-party developers. The result is that this software and others like it work with common office productivity suites, communications software, and similar packages that business currently use. This makes it less likely that you will need custom programming to begin using the new ERP system as well as make it easier for your team to use.
Customer-centric also means developing software with users in mind. This includes creating dashboards and interfaces that are intuitive, easy to learn, and simple to customize. Many cloud-based systems also enable customization in ways that on-premises software couldn’t. It’s a great blend of customization with expert usability design in one ERP package.
Trend #2: “Smart” ERP (AI Added to ERP)
If you’ve used Siri, Alexa, or any of the voice-activated devices to search for information or perform simple tasks like turning on and off the lights in your house, you’ve experienced artificial intelligence and “smart” systems. These devices have improved substantially at understanding the complexities of human speech, thanks to projects like Google’s BERT, which provides breakthrough open-source natural language processing technology to other companies to better the entire industry.
ERP makers are looking at other industries and adding such features to their products, too. These features make it much easier to use voice activation to find information. Machine learning, in which systems grow smarter after multiple queries, is already part of most software.
No one is certain how this trend will impact ERP software over the next decade, but one thing remains clear—as more people adopt smart home systems, AI may become commonplace.
Trend #3: Improved User Interfaces
Intuitive user interfaces are found in many ERP systems. The more the interface can be customized to the user and their role, the easier it is to use, and the better it is for many companies. Personalized dashboards and user interfaces save a lot of time and hassle by making sure frequently used items are right on the dashboard. Marketing may not need to check accounts receivables and accounting may never need to send emails via the CRM. Customization just makes good sense.
The more advanced ERP developers are looking at how people use their software in offices and on the factory floor to see what they access and how they want to navigate through the system. From there, better user interfaces are being built which provide enhanced navigation, easier access, and additional features that users demand.