Perhaps you’ve seen the term “future proofing” in a business journal or article and you’re wondering what it means. As the term suggests, it means setting something up for the long term so that it is still useful and relevant in the future.
That’s harder than it sounds, because so much of the future is unknown. But what is known is that certain business investments are intended to span several years. This includes investing in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. A future-proof ERP is, therefore, one that will withstand the test of time and still be as valuable, useful, and relevant in the future as it is today.
Here’s how your ERP can be future-proof and how this positively impacts your business.
Consider ERP Strategy and Integration
The first step to future-proofing your ERP is to think of it as part of your business strategy, not as a separate software platform. Strategy helps you think long-term about your business, while software is something that helps you manage your business or a particular task.
As part of your overall strategy, consider ERP integration. Integrating your ERP system with other systems including a CRM, an e-commerce platform, and other systems in your company provides enhanced transparency and visibility into all areas of data. This visibility leads to improved insights and better long-range planning, both of which can help mitigate against future roadblocks—i.e., future proofing your business.
A Gartner report states, “By 2024, at least 65% of organizations will justify integration capabilities expenditure as strategic investments, up from less than 40% in 2019. By 2022, more than 50% of midsize, large, and global organizations will establish an integration strategy empowerment team to support a self-service integration approach.”
Building a Future-Focused ERP Strategy
Once you begin thinking about your ERP as strategy instead of software, future-proofing falls into place. Here are steps to take to build out your ERP strategy.
The original ERP systems relied upon site-based systems: dedicated hardware, servers, and software installed on local machines. And while such systems are still available, cloud ERP is the best deployment method to future-proof your ERP strategy.
Cloud deployment offers enhanced security, easier accessibility, and real-time data visibility. It’s much easier and more cost-effective to add seats to a cloud license, and no specific hardware purchases are required. Moreover, many cloud systems offer the flexibility of connecting via APIs with other platforms to provide the precise functions you need.
ERP Roles and Responsibilities
Another way to future-proof your ERP system is to ensure that it encompasses features and functions every department needs. To pick an ERP that works well for everyone—accounting, finance, marketing, operations, sales and more—start any ERP project by including representatives from each group on the team. When you begin the ERP selection process by including people from every department on the team, you are already future proofing the ERP by ensuring it meets the demands of all potential stakeholders.
We mentioned that many cloud-based ERPs easily connect with other platforms through APIs to create unique, interconnected business systems. Such integrations offer powerful future-proofing capabilities by helping data flow seamlessly throughout the entire company. An ERP-CRM integration, for example, improves omnichannel customer support and ensures that data from any customer interaction is available throughout the ERP. Office productivity systems, communication tools, human resources systems, and more can be connected.
Consider which systems you already have that could benefit through ERP integration. Such legacy systems may need to be upgraded or moved to the cloud. As part of your future-proofing strategy, it may be a good time to reconsider all your systems and determine which ones you need, which to integrate, and which to retire.
Is Futureproofing Truly Possible?
No business technology can be 100% prepared for the future. However, with a smart approach to choosing your next ERP, you can choose an ERP that’s flexible, ready for the next technological improvements, and easy to integrate with your existing systems.
Emerald TC provides ERP consulting, selection, implementation, and training services. We are recognized Acumatica and Sage partners and can help you with ERP selection consulting, customization, and more. Contact us today.