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Unit4 2020 Predictions: Platform and People Experience will become front and center for ERP

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

By Claus Jepsen, deputy CTO at Unit4

Platform and People Experience will become front and center for ERP

As we look at what is to come in the new year, we are compelled to think about the results of trends and the predictions we made for 2019. We find ourselves reminiscing about different technologies, like AI and chatbots, that we continued to develop, adopt and bet on.

In 2020 we will see these technologies, and others, being adopted for the first time or for more mature organizations, filling specific gaps. As with digital transformation, we will see different levels of implementation whether by vertical, organizational size or specific industries with a taste for innovation. We will see greater emphasis in three main areas - digital assistants and AI; increased adoption of hybrid cloud and the human aspect of the technology.

1.     Digital assistants changing the enterprise settings

In 2019 we witnessed how chatbots dominated the customer experience landscape in several industries. However, moving into a new year we will see more capabilities from the implementation of AI and a shift in the way we have been using these applications.

As it matures - slowly but steady - AI will play an even bigger role in evolving digital assistants use in the enterprise. Thanks to improved capabilities, we will be able to leverage more natural language, continuous learning and task coordination to streamline operations and boost convenience for internal users and customers. We will see how these platforms take over. Gartner already expects 70% of white-collar workers to interact with conversational platforms on a daily basis by 2022.

Moreover, enterprises will tap into analytics capabilities of AI-powered digital assistants to proactively determine easier ways to work and automate routine tasks through machine-learning. They will opt for cloud based offerings that will provide low/no code features to produce purpose built assistants, which will be tailored to their specific needs supporting their internal business as well as offering their customers innovative solutions for engaging with them.

2.     Organizations leaning into a hybrid approach

As we continue to see exponential migrations to the cloud, in 2020 moving data and applications will bring a new set of complexities. Due to regulations like GDPR and CCPA, being compliant is not a ‘nice to have' but a requirement to continue operating. Pure-play cloud providers and ERP vendors won't be able to accommodate the different and complex needs of their customers if they involve compliance, ease of data management and security with respect to where data sits and where it is accessed.

Organizations will be on the lookout for hybrid solutions where they can store data on-premises while using cloud to ensure the security of their database. Vendors will be required to offer seamless integration of data independent of where it is stored to truly help organizations achieve their digital transformation.

With the shift in buyer expectations, vendors need to focus on extensibility and making sure platforms can support hybrid scenarios. It will be the beginning of the end of ERP mega-suites and the materialization of seamless distributed integration of disparate systems deployed across multiple clouds as well as on-premise. ERP will become the single integrated tool for driving productivity and people engagement as user experiences improve. It's not just central to running the business, but for enabling people and serving customers well. As platforms develop in 2020, organizations will focus their attention on building and delivering complementary services and process improvements.

3.     The humanity of the enterprise will be at center stage

People continue to be the biggest asset of any company; it is the talent that makes a business thrive. Their insights will drive the business forward. As our society changes and a new breed of talent rises, organizations need to ensure their systems are in line with this new generation of employees.

We will see more businesses adopting a more strategic approach to HCM functions driven by data and analytics gleaned from the people that make up the organization. Legacy systems will become a disadvantage especially when trying to offer more streamlined communication and functionality. It's a transformational shift away from the monolithic user experience imposed on users to nimbler and task or purpose built apps providing instant capabilities for users to fulfil their tasks.

These new trends and possibilities we see on the horizon are linked to the human element. The technology is made for users and customers to keep driving our businesses forward.

As we see how these and many other trends mature, we have to keep in mind how we use these advancements to give organizations a major competitive advantage.

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About the Author

Claus Jepsen, Deputy CTO at Unit4

Claus Jepsen 

Claus Jepsen is a technology expert who has been fascinated by the micro-computer revolution ever since he received a Tandy TRS model 1 at the age of 14. Since then, Claus has spent the last few decades developing and architecting software solutions, most recently at Unit4, where he is the Chief Architect leading the ERP vendor's focus on enabling the post-modern enterprise. At Unit4, Claus is building cloud-based, super-scalable solutions and bringing innovative technologies such as AI, chatbots, and predictive analytics to ERP. Claus is a strong believer that having access to vast amounts of data allows us to construct better, non-invasive and pervasive solutions to improve our experiences, relieve us from tedious chores, and allow us focus on what we as individuals really love doing.

Published Thursday, January 02, 2020 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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