It’s just evolving to meet the needs of your 21st Century business

Well, the “death of ERP” has been predicted for years now. But, like Paul McCartney, Madonna, and many others whose demises have been prematurely reported, ERP is still with us — and just getting better.

A recent Forbes.com blog post on the topic claims that ERP was designed specifically for 20th century manufacturing businesses, and is too “rigid” to adapt to 21st century technologies and services-based business needs. The article states that today’s economy “demands new ways of both measuring and monetizing customer relationships. Companies must break out of the shackles of ERP if they are to succeed in this new world.”

The fact is, the established principles of ERP systems are being converted to new deployment methods like SaaS and the cloud, and to new devices like smart phones and tablets. ERP is rapidly evolving to emulate flexible, scalable subscription offerings like Saleforce.com and others. Rather than shackling businesses to antiquated models, today’s ERP gives companies greater freedom than ever to collaborate, communicate and leverage information for competitive advantage and bottom-line success.

Here are some of the big changes we are seeing in the ERP world:

Shifting to the Cloud Cloud deployment options change the dynamic for ERP. Subscription-based models are becoming main-stream, and private clouds are available for some ERPs. The primary benefit of the public cloud is mostly economical – small-to-medium businesses can save money, time, and physical space by using the hardware, infrastructure, and software of a third-party provider. The benefit of the private cloud is that you can use the same tools and software within your own datacenter or that of a third-party provider, with much more control.

Here Comes Social ERP Enhancing ERP with social media capabilities enables easy communication and collaboration both within an organization and between a business and its customers. Social media integration incorporates consumer-friendly social media tools alongside complex ERP applications — ERP’s are even being designed with social in mind. Social ERP makes it simple for different departments to collaborate to use ERP data to improve customer service and company operations.

ERP Anywhere – Mobile ERP Mobile technology – including devices, software, networks and product distribution channels – accelerates and transforms business processes. As the technology has evolved, ERP providers have continued to adapt product development to deliver mobile capabilities. Today’s devices offer speed, convenience and unique capabilities to capture and respond to information in real time.

ERP for All The SaaS model makes it easy and cost-effective for businesses of all sizes to take advantage of the benefits ERP offers. Administration of ERP is usually entirely outsourced, letting them focus on their business. SaaS and cloud computing in general offer a deployment model that provides a predictable cost, scalability and straightforward upgrade path based on business value rather than technical obsolescence. Businesses with little or no network infrastructure and lean IT staffs can have fully functioning business software solutions that their employees can access from the Web, anywhere they happen to be.

An Engaging User Experience ERP developers are taking a cue from Apple and designing user interfaces (UIs) that truly enable user productivity. ERP sometimes gets a bad rap for static interfaces that focus on the data capture orientation of the most frequent users. Today’s ERP delivers UIs that focus on business outcomes, and extend the application reach to much more diverse array of user roles. These UIs offer rich graphical features that deliver business intelligence and interactive displays that enable decision-oriented activities and real-time customer interactions.