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ERP Software: 13 Predictions for 2017: Page 2

By Drew Robb     Feedback
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7. Siri Comes to ERP

The Consumer Electronics Show in January 2017 highlighted the fact that voice interfaces are poised to explode this year, and that this heavy consumer demand will influence the workplace. Smart assistants like Cortana, Alexa and Siri finding new ways to take business action on voice inputs. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and voice recognition frameworks, developers now have the tools to develop systems that check the status of project deliverables, run reports and respond to business information through simple voice commands, creating the year of the Enterprise Resource Planning assistant. FinancialForce, for example, demonstrated this with an Amazon Echo demo.

8. Service Dominance

Our evolving economy and the trend towards service business models has made subscription billing capabilities par for the course in ERP software. However, 2017 will see that trend accelerate.

“Over 90 percent of businesses will earn more than half of their revenue from services,” said Roberts. “This shift will place a greater emphasis on customer experience and renewals, making it critical to become more engaged in customer experience and product development. To support this shift, successful software companies will be required to deliver tools that consolidate billing sources, support and automate new revenue models, and provide end-to-end visibility across the customer lifecycle.”

9. Talent Search

2017 could see companies searching for a whole new strata of talent. Exponentially increasing customer expectations are driving adoption of new technologies such as robots, chatbots and AI. Organizations will bring on new talent with the technological chops needed to respond to these demands, future-proof the business, and accelerate digital transformation.

“This new talent will begin to adapt these new technologies as they become mainstream and will work closely with the C-suite to develop improved user experiences for their customers,” said Cox.

10. Finance Control

That said, the position of finance in modern organizations is being reinforced by the realization of all this new technology. Finance is becoming the digital nerve center of today’s organizations. As this nerve center responds to the business changes driven by increasing customer expectations and other forces, IT buyers’ preferences are fundamentally changing.

“Organizations will respond to the need to innovate by updating infrastructures — either through a transformational approach, at the edge through strategic adoption of cloud for individual functions, or a mixture of the two,” said Cox.

11. Internet of Things

Just as the cloud will gain even more prominence this year, so the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to exert a big impact in the ERP world.

“We will see more ERP implementations adopting either a cloud or hybrid approach as many companies are starting to understand the need for an infrastructure that enables them to leverage new technologies including mobility and collecting, aggregating and analyzing data via IoT,” said Terri Hiskey, vice president of product marketing for manufacturing at Epicor. “Companies now understand the value of a cloud strategy and how IoT can enable critical business processes.”

12. IoT Actionability

With businesses beginning to understand the importance of IoT, they are now shifing focus onto how to take the data collected via IoT and make it actionable. Further, smaller companies are beginning to look at how they can get started on this path and how quickly they can see a return on their efforts.

“You don’t have to boil the ocean in order to implement an IoT strategy,” said Hiskey. “You can start small, with a sensor that feeds data back to a database, so that you can test the waters to understand how everything works before focusing on a larger implementation.”

13. Personalization

Personalization is another growing demand from customers. In the business to consumer world, customers are demanding a more personalized experience, and that is also spilling over into the B2B world.

“Customers want to work with manufacturers that can provide them with unique and customized experiences,” said Hiskey. “Data that is collected via IoT can give manufacturers greater insights into their customers so they can leverage that to provide better experiences.”

Drew Robb is a freelance writer specializing in technology and engineering. Currently living in Florida, he is originally from Scotland, where he received a degree in geology and geography from the University of Strathclyde. He is the author of Server Disk Management in a Windows Environment (CRC Press).

This article was originally published on February 2, 2017
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