ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) – as we know it – manage information flow between business functions inside a company, as well as managing the connection with outside stakeholders, automated by software app (source.) However, as the cloud will soon become (or has already become?) mainstream, ERP will eventually disappear, replaced by more agile and easier to implement cloud-based solutions. How so?
ERP systems focused on automating your business’ back office and front office functions; indeed, ERP integrates your back office with CRM, e-business systems, supply chain management, and communication with external parties. In short, it’s complicated to implement and run, and not many businesses have the privilege to adopt it.
Enter the cloud.
The cloud changes the ERP game
As in reality companies – especially SMBs – not entirely automating everything in an ERP system, the cloud offers fresh approach for businesses to adopt the “lighter” version of ERP. In fact, ERP seems to be an old, cumbersome concept that has passed its glory a decade ago.
I just read an article by Phil Wainewright on ZDNet; Mr. Wainewright seems to indicate that ERP is dead; it has no future in the cloud. The supporting fact? The statement of NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson. He said that ERP is not really what NetSuite is offering, although it markets its products as The Number One Cloud ERP Software Suite. Mr. Nelson said that what NetSuite offers to customers is not ERP – but the company needs to speak in their language.
In other words, ERP is just a marketing gimmick, because it’s no longer suitable for businesses of today, especially those that are cloud-savvy.
So, is ERP dead?
I don’t think ERP is dead; it’s definitely evolving. What’s dead is probably the old ways of setting up and managing an ERP system. The cloud offer many benefits of adopting cloud-based ERP system, including financial benefits of adopting cloud-based ERP system.
The case of the death of (conventional) ERP is magnified by the (very) recent merger between GT Nexus and TradeCard, creating a single cloud=based supply chain management platform that manages goods valued more than $100 billion.
GT Nexus CEO Aaron Sasson said that their customers are the biggest winners in the merger. How so? Well, there are a large number of companies struggling in their business growth due to the complicated ERP systems. This is another example that a cloud solution is born because ERP is, well, too cumbersome for many.
What options are available for businesses?
Mr. Wainewright says that there is no one offering a full-featured ERP system in the cloud.
Today, ERP consists of a combo of two business functions, typically financials-plus-ecommerce, financials-plus-manufacturing, financials-plus-PSA (professional services automation,) and new new acronym he introduced, FRM – financials-plus-revenue-management. The GT Nexus – TradeCard merger introduces trade-plus-supply-chain-management.
There are cloud solutions that can cater your needs, such as Workday, Zuora, Netsuite, myERP, and so on. Just make use of the free accounts or free trial offers to see whether they can answer your company’s need or not.