How ERP can enable post-COVID digital shift for business

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For the greater part of the past decade, digital transformation efforts have been around; nevertheless, COVID-19 was the impetus for many organisations to take the plunge to adopt technology and improvements in conventional ways of working. Artificial intelligence has been a recurrent topic of discussion during the pandemic. It has become a boon in the ‘new normal’ and has made its way into the development of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning).

Many businesses have adopted the next-generation ERP. A company’s trajectory depends on its ERP systems as there is a huge demand for operational flexibility. Several business challenges have risen due to the pandemic which in return has led the companies to move towards digitalisation and adopt to next-generation ERP.

According to ABI Research’s forecasts, the impact of COVID-19 on the supply chain will spur manufacturers’ spend on enterprise resource planning (ERP), to reach $14 billion in 2024. ERP software is indispensable and since remote working has gained roots in business it is more beneficial now than ever before. The movement to digitisation has opened up new avenues for ERP and these are very crucial to the business.

It is a significant decision in terms of operational flexibility and resilience that will set the pace for companies in the years to come. Risk mitigation is a primary requirement for a smooth transition to the cloud. Evolving ERP functionalities can address immediate business challenges.

The ERP systems that are currently in use have multiple applications and restricted capabilities of integration and interoperability. These systems require customization which further slows down the deployment and complicates the process. Additionally getting business insights becomes difficult. Supply chain management is one such task that requires real-time visibility. Remote working companies require advanced automation.

Next-generation ERP can help to address all these business challenges. They can give real-time transparency to sales, inventory and financials. Data-driven analytics can enable adjustments that can improve resilience. A recent study by Gartner highlighted that most businesses are in the planning or implementation process of AI in ERP software.

These solutions over time allow the addition of new users and functionalities. They also help in improving the productivity of the organization that can lead to ease in managing the business. Additionally, it is beneficial for organisational growth and adding resources based on requirements. The benefits of next-generation ERP are as follows:

Faster and Efficient process using AI
ERP software aids in data analysis when combined with AI it can collect and analyse large amounts of data with ease. It can also provide insights and customised analytics that can further improve the functionality of a business. A major benefit of automation is customer experience where end-users can interact with the system and their queries can be answered based on human input. Utilizing the existing data, the system can quickly respond and based on new information update the responses. This in turn will help in utilizing human workforces to tackle higher-level tasks, while ERP software takes care of the repetitive tasks.

Streamlining and cost management using automation
In domains like manufacturing, AI-enabled ERPs can help in identifying inefficiencies that can be time-consuming and lead to resource depletion. They can help with streamlining and improving the process as and when required. These systems also integrate information in a single platform and keep data unique, accurate and consistent. With single-source and real-time information, ERP software can reduce the cost of administrative work and operations and accelerate business process automation.

ERP software is leveraging technology to create efficient and sustainable systems during and post-pandemic. The software helps in optimizing and directing the workforce towards issues of higher priority. These solutions are not only crucial for big companies but also very vital for small and medium scale businesses (SMEs).

An effective transformation to the next-generation ERP needs leaders who are committed to this dynamic transition because they will understand the clear benefits and the overall value it will bring to the organisation. When the COVID-19 crisis is over, leaders who are prepared to begin or resume their migration will be able to improve their operations’ flexibility and resilience. More than ever these features will be critical to success.

(This article is written by Raj Darji, Founder and CEO – Aarav Solutions. The views expressed in this article are of the author.)

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