Why Intelligent ERP Systems Are The Secret To Growing A Company’s Competitive Edge
By Oliver Schoenborn, SAP
When talking with family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and even strangers in the grocery store checkout line, it’s clear that everyone craves being outside, seeing their loved ones, and traveling again. But those discussions are also peppered with nuances that let us know that any sense of “normalcy” will never truly reflect our prepandemic lives.
Businesses that observe, internalize, and act on even the slightest changes in consumers’ expectations, preferences, and habits are the ones most likely to succeed in the postpandemic economy. Moving from reactive management to proactive management, they facilitate data-driven decision-making using predictive analytics and act on insights with a collaborative network of suppliers, service providers, and employees.
In a recent blog I discussed 5 Warning Signs Of A Growing Business That’s Outgrown Its Legacy ERP. And these growing companies often find themselves competing against new players, navigating new markets, and creating a niche product or service to address unmet customer needs. According to IDC, many growing companies are beginning to respond in kind by developing a core set of new ERP software requirements to help them compete more effectively, grow revenue, and increase agility and resilience.
Leveraging the intelligence within ERP
Hillrom Holdings is no stranger to the need for evolving ERP intelligence. Operating with a staff of approximately 1,000, the global medical technology provider constantly innovates assessment and monitoring technologies, care equipment and devices, and caregiver collaboration tools to make life better for over seven million patients. Part of that success is attributed to its acquisition-based growth; yet, that strategy also created a wall of disparate, disconnected, and nonstandard business systems that blocked off real-time data visibility, insights, and business processes.
Hillrom knew that it had to enhance its ERP capabilities to keep improving patient outcomes. So, the organization decided to rethink its custom code and reduce the complexity of everyday work by moving to Intelligent ERP. By establishing one source of data trust, it can adapt responsively to the fast-changing needs of hospitals with synchronized processes on a scalable platform that allows future growth.
Many midsize companies find themselves in a similar position in which Intelligent ERP capabilities that provide actionable insights and predictive indicators are the best investments in their future success. An IDC software-as-a-service (SaaS) survey revealed superior features and functionality as the second most important attribute when evaluating ERP technology vendors.
The underlying reason for this line of thinking is quite simple: businesses want applications and business processes embedded with data intelligence, advanced analytics tools, simulated modeling, and guided decision-making. Delivering such an intuitive, everyday work experience allows employees – regardless of role and function – to reduce reactive fire drills when urgent matters arise and the needs to manually handle redundant tasks. By predicting challenges and solving them before they become customer issues, organizations can focus on more strategic activities and take on opportunities with confidence.
A growing segment of companies are also considering the value of the Internet of Things (IoT), drones, robotics, augmented or virtual reality, and other data-driven innovations when integrated with their IT landscape. By expanding the use of Big Data effectively, these technologies enable organizations to quickly improve visibility into operations to predict future events and make appropriate decisions.
For example, the Belgian multi-utility company, FARYS, discovered that integrating IoT technology, predictive analytics, and Intelligent ERP in the cloud added value to the customer experience. For example, billing is faster and more accurate. New service models, such as consumption monitoring, are also supported to lower costs for the business and its customers and promote more sustainable use of water resources.
Taking back control of the dynamics of growth
As much as everyone wants their prepandemic ways of life to return, midsize businesses must compete in a marketplace that never stopped evolving. It can be a challenging environment – the pace never seems to calm down long enough to get ahead of the competition, take command, and grow competitively.
But when midsize companies leverage the actionable insights and predictive indicators of Intelligent ERP, that frustration quickly becomes control as they move forward with confidence and market leadership.