Main IT Focus Areas for 2021
The main priorities for 2021 according to Microsoft:
- Work From Home / Work from anywhere
While the initial exodus to remote work occurred early last year, organizations of all sizes are still evolving in response.
- Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery
The pace of digital transformation has continued to accelerate, putting pressure on companies to modernize their operations and prepare for a wide variety of potential disruptions.
A key element of maintaining business continuity is the effective management of cybersecurity across the organization. The mass shift to remote work has made this even more critical for every organization worldwide.
- Cloud Migration
The cloud has become a business imperative, particularly in the past year, as companies have leaned on the added flexibility and benefits cloud computing brings for remote workers.
Additional ERP trends to help plan for 2021:
The digitization of an enterprise through ERP solutions raises an organization’s performance by
- operational efficiency,
- data management,
- financial management,
- and process automation.
The main ERP technology trends to watch out for in 2021:
- Integration with AI and its positive impact
Current ERP systems come integrated with AI and offer smooth functionalities in various functions such as efficient accounting, report generation, warehouse/ inventory management, customer service betterment, and more. Another positive impact of ERP systems integrated with AI is that it helps process automation and can save manual labour efforts and cost. Just as many families have begun their smart home journey ‘connecting’ them within their home (e.g., thermostats, doors/windows, appliances, utilities, lights, audio and security cameras) where they can monitor, analyze, and direct their ‘living’ home automation through their mobile apps and voice-controlled assistants, companies will begin their “Smart Enterprise” journeys. A Smart Enterprise journey integrates the ERP and business applications and will add others such as Big Data, IoT devices, and 5G technologies.
- Cloud Acceleration – Data-on-the-Go
ERP and business applications vendors have provided mobile support as an ‘extra’ feature for a while now, but in 2021 having your ERP and business applications available on a complimentary mobile application will be the norm. ERP and business applications solutions have evolved to include access to critical business data-on-the-go. This allows employees to get a snapshot of accurately captured data via a user-friendly dashboard, view status of critical workflows from their phones, complete key tasks at home and collaborate with colleagues across the world with a click or two. Mobile ERP and business applications tools will provide a massive boost to agility and productivity for firms. This anywhere-anytime accessibility to back-end and front-end data in new ERP and business applications tools is a trend that will see an upward swing in the coming year, driven by the unprecedented disruption of the pandemic that has made remote working the new normal.
- Agile ERP to Support an Agile Organization
Most companies are asked today if they are agile? To be agile and get away from the conventional waterfall method (where one function would complete the task before moving to the next), companies will delve into agile ERP. An agile ERP will support co-existence and concurrent working of multiple functions with a centrally accessible database. This will help companies reduce and expedite iterations, preempt and avoid operational glitches, and better manage their processes.
- Customer-focused ERP
The business landscape is changing with digitization. Companies can now reach their customers directly and get honest reviews about their services/ products, thanks to various online platforms. Thus an ERP will play an essential role in strengthening this connection and taking it in the right direction by generating alerts, reducing response time, and improving overall customer satisfaction for a company.
- ERP Aiding Personal Marketing
Organizations worldwide are trying to make the most of their digital marketing spend by optimizing R&D about a customer/ prospect demographic. Cloud-based ERP systems can prove vital in that facet by serving as the data-gatherer and insight generator systems for a better, faster, and more accurate understanding of the customer’s preferences. Not many enterprises know the immense value that the current sales/ customer data provides to cross-sell/upsell/sell new products to existing customers or prospective customers within the same demographic. ERP systems can effectively streamline backend data and provide trends to aid digital marketing.
- Two-Tier System
Traditionally, businesses have resorted to the deployment of a single ERP system across their organization, imposing the central model on their subsidiaries and global offices. This has unsurprisingly proven problematic to implement, costly to roll-out and challenging to sustain. This is where a two-tier ERP system comes into play, as it replaces the one-size-fits-all generic model. A two-tier ERP system is one of the top trends in ERP which enables businesses to customize their software functionality and deployment according to regional and local requirements. A two-tier system allows firms to retain their investments in existing ERP software at the corporate level (tier 1), while the subsidiaries and smaller business units run on a cloud-based specialized ERP software (tier 2). The two tiers will ideally be integrated to allow seamless data exchange and allow flexibility to respond quickly to market signals.