4 technologies that could soon boost ERP

by bold-lichterman

ERP is considered by some to be an “old” solution. He should not be ashamed of this qualifier, since in fact it is one of the first IT solutions adopted by companies, particularly in an industrial setting.

However, there may be in the uninformed observer a propensity to use this qualifier “old” with a pejorative connotation. It would be a mistake. Today’s ERP no longer has much to do with that of the 90s. It has evolved and take advantage of developments the most recent in IT and computing.

Yes, but… would he not have reached the end of his possibilities? A dinosaur destined to disappear, and to give up its place, in the long chain of the evolution of the company?

Certainly not, because ERP is still largely in ability to evolve, and is constantly being reshaped by technological advances.

Here is what the future could hold for him, in a 2017 context rich in promise. Four emerging and impactful technologies will in particular sweep over companies, and could boost ERP functionality in the years to come.

Connected Objects

According to Gartner, in a study which has just been published, connected objects could be more numerous than the inhabitants of the planet by 2017. Logical, since this category also includes Smartphones to speak only of them. These smartphones and tablets are the first connected objects on a large scale to have had an impact on companies, and therefore on ERP. In particular, they made it possible to improve analytical possibilities, with dashboards that were easier to consult.

But the most interesting remains to come, with the massive arrival of “smart” connected objects in the business world, capable of collect data at every stage of production. It will therefore be necessary for the ERP to be able to collect and process this data, to offer a real-time view of the company’s activity. At an even higher level of technicality, we can now see the concept of “virtual twin” or “digital twin” appear. By remaining connected with its tools, machines and means of production, a company is able to observe their operation in real time and even anticipate their maintenance. This concept is sometimes applied to the scale of an entire factory (or production unit).

Artificial intelligence

You must have heard of it. It was already in fashion when Hollywood declined it in its blockbusters, here it is entering directly into our lives, as an individual or a company. The major revolution in this field comes from the fact that it is now accessible to publishers of solutions and applications.

Indeed, the major obstacle to its implementation was the difficulty of having sufficient material and human resources for its implementation. But the major historical players (IBM Watson, Goggle Brain, etc.) now offer APIs allowing add artificial intelligence to an existing solution, at a reasonable cost (temporal and financial).

It will therefore become more democratic, and come to irrigate the ERP, endowing it with unprecedented capacities.

Be careful, however, do not lend it magical powers, nor forget that human contact remains predominant for many users. For example, a recent poll indicated that “Bots” (virtual robots, such as those that we see multiplying to answer user questions on websites), are valued in a variety of ways. Their synthetic voice is often considered excruciating.

Virtual reality

You have all seen someone decked out in one of those strange helmets (let’s say rather masks) that cover their eyes, and that allows you to evolve in a virtual three-dimensional world. Everything indicates that this concept will make its entry into the company, moreover it is already established in the communication departments. A French start-up even offers companies to “rent” or share their virtual reality rooms to make them profitable, VR-BnB style.

The meeting point between ERP and virtual reality is not obvious at first glance, but we can imagine that we will for example see possibilities of 3D data visualization virtual, for a greater richness of analytical exploitation. Or, grafted onto the concept of “virtual twin” mentioned above, helmets making it possible to observe and interact more intuitively with productive tools from a distance. Later, it is perfectly possible that we will also see operators virtually piloting robots located in warehouses.

Blockchain

It is one of the innovations that could have the most impact on businesses, but it remains relatively opaque and confidential, if not completely unknown to the general public. Behind this complex concept hides a “pear to pear” transaction system, reputed to be transparent, secure and not centralized. We could sum it up in a “huge notebook, which everyone can read freely, for free, on which everyone can write, which is impossible to erase and indestructible ”, says Jean-Paul Delahaye, mathematician.

Blockchain works much like the Internet, with data both everywhere and nowhere, making any hacking or tampering attempt unsuccessful (in the current state of technology). This is why this concept is of primary interest to financial players, who are in the process of validating it, or even testing it. It is also largely inherited from virtual currency “BitCoin”, free and open virtual money.

The impact on ERP is not immediate, yet it will inevitably happen. On the one hand, because the ERP is required to circulate an increasing amount of confidential data within companies that are increasingly fragmented and distributed throughout the planet: it could therefore be a solution to secure data flows. On the other hand, because if finance takes hold of the concept, and if secure virtual currencies are created, this change will have to be taken into account in the transactions and in the accounts of companies, and therefore in the ERP.

thomas-cattelain-silog-2016Thomas cattelain is responsible for sales at Silog. He is a marketing expert, particularly in inbound marketing.

With a sales background, he set up a marketing and communication department at SIlog. He is now in charge of aligning sales and marketing in order to generate hot leads. He manages the production of content as well as CRM monitoring.

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