In today’s technology driven world, you can see nearly anyone using their mobile devices. Whether it’s small children using their parent’s smartphone or tablet for games, or business professionals using their devices for work – consumer apps work for everyone. With this in mind, it’s notable to mention that bring your own device (BYOD) has spread across businesses of all sizes. At some point, you realize that the applications you use at home are more efficient and easier to use than what is provided by the IT department – so you go BYOD.
This doesn’t work so well with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems however, as it is not something that lends itself well to BYOD. Instead of consumer apps replacing ERP systems altogether though, ERP is slowly assuming some of the functionalities that employees have come to expect from their consumer applications.
An article posted by Peter Kowalke on Toolbox gives insight to the six ways that ERP systems are evolving.
“Individuals in all industries are beginning to realize that the increased productivity and convenience that connected devices and intuitive apps provide does not have to end with their personal lives. Enterprise customers are consumers, and have come to expect, even demand, this connected experience with the vendors and services they use in the workplace,” according to Eva Schoenleitner, Vice President of Product Marketing, Sage.
1. Subscription Model
The first way consumer apps are changing ERP and all other software solutions is through the move to the cloud-based subscription model. Cloud-based solutions are extremely accessible and convenient for all departments in an organization. Small businesses are leading this trend, but even larger integrated ERP systems are now moving to the subscription model championed by consumer apps. This means ERP solutions need to offer more flexible options.
2. Consistent User Experience
As desktop ERP systems are becoming out-dated and mobile rules the consumer space, enterprise customers now expect their ERP system to travel with them on any device they choose. This includes not only access on any device, but also a consistent user experience. ERP applications need to look the same way no matter what device platform the user is interacting with. This trend is driven by the expectation of a consistent user experience regardless of technology.
3. Universal Access
Because computing now is mobile in the consumer space, ERP systems are also transforming into tools that employees can access and use in the field and on the shop floor. ERP systems aren’t updated later from a desktop, they are becoming instrumental at the point where the work is performed. Universal access to the ERP system via mobile is a total game changer. It puts actionable, real-time information in the palm of your hands from anywhere and at anytime.
4. Easy Usability
Along with a consistent user experience, the consumerization of ERP systems has brought emphasis to usability. This consumer trend has gained added momentum as Millennials rise in the ranks at most businesses, since this cohort is more likely to judge software on usability and has less patience for outdated technology that is inefficient.
5. Better Integration
Consumer apps are now typically integrated with various cloud services. ERP has always been integrated of course, but these integrations have been cumbersome for the most part. With the rise of consumer apps that easily integrate, ERP vendors are having to reexamine how and to what extend their offerings integrate with other systems. This is good news for business because consumer integration is pushing ERP systems to move out of clunky connectivity.
6. Data Access
Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes data access easier for consumers, and is now spreading to ERP systems. Because ERP is going mobile and being used more actively on the shop floor, there is a push toward using AI to help deliver data more intelligently. AI allows for space for new solutions to improve he customer experience, such as speech to text. “This kind of technology will move the needle with regards to productivity and business management within ERP solutions,” notes Schoenleitner.
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