Last updated: Next-generation ERP: Getting it done in more ways than one

Next-generation ERP: Getting it done in more ways than one


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As companies navigate new realities following the pandemic and economic crisis, they need to rethink their business strategies on multiple fronts: internal business operations, supply chains, distribution networks, value chains and the role that technology plays in each of these.

Next-generation ERP is a vital part of this reconfiguration. Many enterprises still operate a foundational enterprise resource planning (ERP) system on-premises in their corporate data center. Moving to an intelligent, next-generation ERP can help tackle business transform mission-critical processes and rapidly adapt to change.

Here are some of the benefits of next-generation ERP:
  1. Support for remote workforces
  2. Supply chain visibility and resilience
  3. Better customer experience
  4. Business agility

Next-generation ERP: Supporting the future of work

Internal business operations require employee engagement and collaboration. Moving employees to a work-from-home model tests technology and assumptions to business processes.

In our new reality, companies must consider how to change these assumptions and technologies to accommodate a new operating model.

It’s likely that many positions that shifted from an office environment to a work-from-home model will remain remote. This requires a change in strategy around how organizations function and employees collaborate. For example, we saw a dramatic uptick in video conferencing, as companies put the technology into operation overnight, en masse.

When employees are working in the office, they connect directly to an applications via their secure corporate network. When working remotely, this secure connection shifts to a virtual private network (VPN). That works well on an intermittent basis with a limited number of employees. Moving everyone remotely creates a new challenge in scale. Intelligent ERP can readily handle these issues of scale, security, and accessibility.

Rethinking supply chain and distribution management

Beyond internal connectivity, supply chains and distribution networks have required a dramatic overhaul. We’ve seen the challenges caused by siloed and inflexible supply chains. One need look no further than the shortages of toilet paper, milk and vegetables. Plenty of both on the commercial side, but hard to move to the retail side. This causes shortages for retail while the commercial side is literally dumping milk and tilling over farmland.

Another example are brick-and-mortar companies that maintain two discrete supply chains for their in-store and online businesses. This creates situations where products aren’t able to move and be sold from either supply chain. Customers may enter via one model, but the product they want is in the other model, resulting in a missed sale.

In manufacturing, companies are looking to diversify their supply chains across different countries and geographies. Doing so may come at a higher cost, but provides greater flexibility in times of crisis. Political unrest, weather, economic shifts have all impacted supply chains at one point or another. There’s always an issue that could impact your supply chain.

Intelligent, next-generation ERP makes it easier to gain more visibility into the supply chain, increase efficiency, and promote resilience and agility.

Know your customers, boost CX

In the end, the ultimate objective is to address the value chain for the customer. The customer experience with your service or product is paramount.

As customers continue to navigate the pandemic crisis, keeping up with their needs will separate companies that ultimately survive from those that perish.

Understanding customer behavior and decision criteria is fundamentally based on data. In order to know your customer, gaining access to data is key. And that data will change over time. Having the insights and flexibility to adapt to the customer is essential. Intelligent ERP provides the data collection and processing power to drive better customer experience.

Next-generation ERP is the foundation for the future

There’s no part of our business operations that hasn’t been touched by the pandemic and economic crisis. As we rethink how we change the way we operate and conduct business, we also need to rethink our underlying technology. Shifting to cloud-based intelligent ERP is a crucial part of the equation.

Companies need to improve business efficiency for internal operations and customer engagement. Those insights will only come from a higher degree of process automation through the use of newer technologies like artificial intelligence (AI). AI is the powerhouse that drives greater insights for customers and process automation.

Traditional enterprise systems lack the ability to leverage AI and data insights required in business today. As companies look to drive changes in the way they adapt and change over time, so should their underlying technology change.

Data and speed are at the heart of the new operating model. Companies need to remove the friction and structure that limits their ability to shift gears as customers and economic climates demand.

The ability to analyze the volume and variety of data coming into the enterprise will set companies apart from their competition. Only next-generation ERP can support these shifts.

Do you have to make these changes? No. But it would be akin to using a 40-year old car to run the Indianapolis 500 car race. Will you finish? Probably. But will it matter if the race is long-since over and the fans have already left?

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