ERP Trends: Mobile Apps and Integrated Processes

Selecting and implementing an ERP solution is always a key strategic decision for CIOs. However, the introduction of enterprise software is anything but trivial, and in many ways, is a mission-critical investment.

When choosing an ERP system, 88% of CIOs prefer an integrated IT system. These promise seamless and more stable business processes. Only 11% of IT directors prefer to map business processes based on a best-of-breed approach that uses multiple tailored solutions. This is according to the “ERP Trend Report 2013,” for which Hamburg consultancy Softselect surveyed some 340 small to medium-sized processing companies from across the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).

Key Requirements for the ERP System

Ideally, classic ERP core areas such as logistics, warehouse management, and accounting should be closely integrated in order to minimize costs for setting up and maintaining interfaces and data transfers between individual solutions. A key requirement for 84% of those surveyed is that scanner applications are also integrated into the overall ERP system. 72% also want integrated functions for product development and recipe management. 71% of IT directors also think it would be useful if the future ERP system contained workflow components. This would allow processes such as document forwarding, invoice processing, and approval processes to be automated.

According to the study, companies will demand more mobile solutions in the next three years as end users seek to carry out ERP processes on the move via their smartphones or tablets. In today’s ERP environment, mobile business scenarios are especially common in the areas of field sales and servicing. Mobile scenarios are also expected to become increasingly widespread in logistics and in the area of warehouse management for stock putaway and removal and picking.

ERP Processes via Tablets and Smartphones

Three quarters of IT managers believe that mobile apps for business intelligence (mobile BI) will play an important or very important role in three years. The figure currently stands at 60%. Mobile BI apps will allow managing directors and other decision makers to retrieve business KPIs and liquidity analyses, for example, on the move, and to access the latest data about company development.

Within the course of normal ERP operations, IT outsourcing services are often used. 29% of respondents said that they had outsourced system monitoring to an external service provider, and slightly more than a quarter said they had outsourced the hosting of an ERP application as a managed service. By 2016, a further 28% intend to outsource system monitoring to an external IT provider, and one quarter also intend to outsource hosting services. Most rejected the idea of completely outsourcing their ERP operations: Only 9% indicated they planned to do so.