ERP trends in 2018

The Industrial Internet of Things, cloud, and AI are predicted to have the biggest impact on ERP in 2018.
By Ultra Consultants December 19, 2017
Photo by Rob Lambert on UnsplashTop Tech Trends
Gartner has identified the top 10 technology trends for 2018, including the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), cloud, and AI. The IIoT and AI will create systems that learn, adapt, and potentially act autonomously. Together, these trends will improve decision making, business modeling, and the customer experience with significant benefits for enterprises over the next 10 years.
IIoT and ERP in 2018
The IIoT combined with ERP methodology, gives manufacturers the ability to leverage data for faster decision making from actionable intelligence and creates a significant competitive advantage. Machine-to-machine data sharing is fostering tremendous changes in manufacturing as enterprises adopt new technology. The IIoT leads the trends we’re seeing relating to ERP in 2018.
By expanding data availability and improving accuracy, the IIoT brings much needed transparency into the enterprise. Accessing business intelligence data in this way effects any process touched by today’s ERP solutions, including forecasting, inventory control, and customer service. BI, rather than relying on historical data, now reveals real-time reality.
Manufacturers adopting new technologies to achieve true IIoT integration will be far ahead of their competitors in 2018. Slow adopting manufacturers will be left behind at the IIoT delivers efficiency and cost savings.
Digital Transformation
True digital transformation with ERP in 2018 means much more than simply swapping in a new piece of software. Rather, it includes all of the activities devoted to aligning investments in technology with updates business models and processes that drive value. It results in an improved competitive position in the new digital economy. The enterprise technology selection and implementation process must be focused equally on digital solutions and on transformed  business outcomes.
The journey to digital transformation includes facing some of these common challenges:
  • Legacy enterprise systems with outdated/manual processes, compliance issues, and an inability to scale.
  • Multiple ancillary systems which can’t communicate with each other, including payroll, quality, PLM, CRM, tax software, EDI, forecasting, financials and homegrown patched together systems.
  • Disjointed functions of inaccurate or delayed reporting/BI, multiple sources of the truth, lack of communication and retiring
Successful digital transformation occurs when specific future state goals inform improved operations, increased revenue and market share, reduced costs, and faster cycle times, among others. We have seen such improvements as:
  • Shipment accuracy improved by 25%
  • Process time decreased by 35%
  • Inventory costs decreased by 10%
  • Inventory accuracy improved 98.5%
True digital transformation with ERP in 2018 means much more than simply swapping in a new piece of software.
These improvements occurred because the enterprise focused on business process upgrades coupled with digital transformation.
Digital transformation is a critical subject at Ultra Consultants. Read Ultra’s blog about The Digital Transformation Journey: Align Technology and Processes Along the Way and ERP Digital Transformation – Realizing Value Through Business Process Improvement.
Solid Gains in the Cloud
Interest and adoption of cloud ERP is growing as its advantages become better understood and we expect more of this as ERP in 2018 matures. The model delivers timely product upgrades and all users operate from one version of the software. Total access adds flexibility to the model, helping enterprises adapt to changing market conditions. Scalability and the adaptability of bringing on new operations as an enterprise grows make cloud ERP attractive as companies move through the software selection process.
Teams could see these benefits driving cloud ERP adoption:
  • Cost savings that fit business needs without the investment in on-site hardware and related infrastructure.
  • Faster deployment schedules at lower costs than on-site solutions, providing real-time access to business intelligence. Updates are less disruptive, the software evolves as the enterprise grows and technical support is often included. The result? Higher ROI. Cloud application projects deliver 2.1 times the ROI vs. on-premise projects.
  • Risk is reduced. Cloud ERP solutions offer increased security and support, increased uptime and secure data storage.
  • Productivity is increased via a variety of tools. Real-time monitoring of key performance indicators give management significant advantages. Cutting edge technology helps attract and retain top employees.

Ultra Consultants is a CFE Media content partner. This article originally appeared on Ultra Consultants’ blog.