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FinancialForce 2019 Predictions: 5 Trends that Will Reshape ERP in 2019

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Raphael Bres, Vice President, Product Management for Financial Management at FinancialForce

5 Trends that Will Reshape ERP in 2019

The business environment is rapidly evolving in this digital age and ERP vendors must evolve too if they want to remain competitive. As we head into 2019, here are five emerging trends that promise to reshape the market and give rise to ERP systems that better address the concerns of today's businesses.

AI will improve the user experience

Today, ERP systems typically use AI technology to generate predictions, such as how much revenue a company is likely to generate in the next quarter or what the financial picture looks like in the coming year.

In the next couple of years, we see AI use cases that are not prediction-related. Rather, they will focus on improving the end-user experience and their productivity. For example, AI can help ERP users to auto-complete certain fields or automatically detect and correct mistakes. AI can even enter a transaction on behalf of a user. The combination of AI and business processes automation is called Robotic Process Automation 2.0 (RPA) and takes place when the AI technologies that are aiming to work and react like a human being alleviate end users from cumbersome and low value tasks.

This kind of AI application is critical because it allows users to spend less time on grunt work and more time on value-add tasks. Users are then more productive and satisfied, and there are fewer manual errors and anomalies that slow down the business.

ERP systems will become more customer-centric-and less product-centric

In today's services economy, customers want the latest and greatest for the best possible value, and they only want to pay for what they actually use. That means it's not just about winning the customer, it's about making sure the customer is happy so that the customer keeps buying more and renewing again and again. It is about winning with a customer journey strategy.

To achieve this, ERP systems must be customer-centric rather than product-centric. Ultimately, the ideal ERP solution will offer a complete view of your business within the context of the customer journey. And this is only possible when all data exists within a single platform. After all, customers want to do business with one company, not five distinct departments. Customers don't like to get bounced around from department to department, so businesses need to align Sales, Marketing, Services and back-office functions because customers expect vendors to know everything about them, regardless of who they spoke to in the past.

Therefore, companies need to lean on data, analytics and intelligence to enable customer engagement. Customer-centric ERP means there is one place to find everything you need to know about the customer and one place to serve customers with instant answers, immediate resolutions and positive experiences every step of the way.

Blockchain will augment ERP systems

ERP systems will increasingly incorporate blockchain technologies. This is not only about the cryptocurrency use case that most people are familiar with. Instead, this is about using decentralized ledgers concepts and immutable financial data to create a highly secure platform in which financial records can be freely shared with trusted parties.

There are several emerging examples where blockchain can be applied to financials, such as using the technology for the approval chain of financial reporting or ever-changing contracts or keeping the true history of assets regardless of the ownership. As the adoption of blockchain further accelerates in the enterprise, expect to see even more creative use cases arise in the coming year.

Analytics and financial reporting will unite

ERP has traditionally been weak in the area of financial reporting. But that is quickly changing. In 2019, the best ERP systems will focus on uniting analytics and financial reporting in a single, combined solution leveraging the latest advances of in-memory computing and business intelligence technologies. This kind of solution will deliver accurate, faster reporting with a superior user experience-including the ability to build up and extract value from larger stockpiles of customer operations and financial data.

For example, a consolidated income statement with multidimensional filters could be refreshed in seconds, even if there is a large volume of data, on any dimension without any pre-aggregation needed. Additionally, in-memory intelligent analytics and reporting will become increasingly imperative for modern businesses as they look for new ways to deliver insights that can help them thrive at speed and drive greater customer success.

Enterprise-grade ERP will embrace the midmarket

Whereas in the past, the most advanced ERP systems were only available to the biggest companies that could afford a very high total cost of ownership, in 2019 the best ERP technologies will be available to everyone. The most cutting-edge ERP systems will take advantage of advances in cloud, AI and analytics, and will be available to midmarket companies at a low total cost of ownership. ERP vendors that move away from expensive solutions and make their enterprise-grade solutions available at a reasonable cost will be richly rewarded by the midmarket.

The ERP market has experienced its share of change over the years. The coming year looks to be no different. 2019 promises to be an exciting year filled with innovation-and rewards for those ERP vendors that are alert and agile enough to take advantage.

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About the Author

 

Raphael Bres is Vice President, Product Management for Financial Management at FinancialForce. He is responsible for driving product strategy and working closely with the development teams to deliver on the product roadmap. He also has market-facing responsibilities including Go-To-Market plans, sales enablement and the successful roll out of the Financial Management applications to customers.

Published Wednesday, January 16, 2019 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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