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ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems no longer require an introduction. For businesses way past the stage of being a startup, investing in a good system no longer is an option. It is a necessity.

ERP systems have been a part of the business software landscape for a long time. It’s also common knowledge that since their foray into the world of business, vendors are continually evolving them, so they are more robust, powerful, affordable, and easier to use.


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While SAP, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Oracle dominate the ERP share; newer competitors are also marking their territory by introducing SaaS in the game. It pays to know the next top trends in the ERP arena to watch.


Trend #1: ERP going SaaS

It’s safe to say that this trend is already off the ground. Traditionally, companies would store Enterprise Resource Planning applications on their servers; and have to bear the upfront cost in procuring the hardware as well as the cost of maintenance, expansion, recovery, and data backup creation.

SaaS-based apps, on the other hand, are stored in the cloud, so they are less expensive to use and maintain. They demand less office space and are simple to scale and update. This trend alone can mean the difference between companies wasting thousands of dollars and saving them in the context of TCO (Cost of Ownership). Software-as-a-service has already become the detail deployment model looking at CRM, HR tools, and talent procurement apps.

According to a report published by Forrester on ERP Applications, in 2017, ERP’s transition to the SaaS model is likely to accelerate quickly over the next three years. While for large enterprises, the adoption might temporarily stall, these solutions are maturing very rapidly. If you invested in an on-premise Enterprise Resource Planning, don’t jump to the SaaS product of your vendor. Forrester suggests to figure factors like cost and benefits of the adoption and whether the new model will offer relevant flexibility, advantages, usability, and the architectural edge that native SaaS apps provide.


Trend #2: IOT (Internet of Things)

Today, more products and devices are connecting to the internet making it possible to funnel more data automatically into an Enterprise Resource Planning system. The entire system provides a clear view of processes like shipping details, supply chains, appliance performance, etc. Harnessing the power of this data funnel could be invaluable for businesses across all industries.

But, unfortunately, the majority of products don’t connect to the internet because it’s a costly endeavour and most establishments cannot afford to invest that much money in a project this ambitious.

Looking at how large enterprises are starting to create their own IoT ecosystems, it won’t be surprising if ERP solutions join the Internet of Things and the vendors use data from this connection.


Trend #3: Mobile ERP Solution

The whole world is now going mobile. The mobile platform allows professionals and especially salespeople to access data on the go, no matter where they are. This technology is soon likely to invade the ERP arena and rightly so. Seeing how almost everything is replacing desktop and traditional access points to go mobile, it’s only fitting that ERP becomes accessible by turning to mobile.

All leading ERP vendors are working out ways to build extensions and add-ons to integrate mobility. It is one of the new and hot trends in the ERP niche that everyone should be on the lookout for.


Trend #4: Hybrid ERP Options

It’s true that the ERP software landscape is moving to the SaaS platform slowly. However, it’s not an entirely either/or proposition. There is no need for companies to completely abort the idea of having an on-premise ERP product just to go SaaS. Several vendors allow a mixed hybrid model. The idea is to offer the flexibility of new modules to an existing ERP without having to build everything from scratch.

Here’s a good example. Let’s say you already have an on-premise system but want to bring in CRM and document managing as a mix without purchasing additional hardware. You can integrate the SaaS module with the existing system. With the introduction of cloud infrastructure, this is now a possibility.

A hybrid ERP platform is another emerging trend in the arena.


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Trend #5: More competition for behemoths

We discussed that SAP, Microsoft and Oracle have the biggest share in the ERP software segmentation. But, these behemoths are facing stiff competition from Saas startups offering similar services. FinancialForce is a good example. It started in 2009 and within a short time already secured more than 1300 ERP clients. Kenandy, another company that kick-started in 2010, builds ERP solutions on Salesforce Cloud.

It goes without saying that the users of this popular sales automation and CRM will find it to be a more appealing option than any of the earlier ones.

According to the Forrester report, a survey of 18 vendors for Saas ERP indicates a great difference for customer adoption, market strategies, and deployment options.

These new names emerging in the industry are targeting big enterprises instead of going with mid- or small-sized businesses.


Trend #6: Two-tiered ERP

The name must make it abundantly clear what this new trend is about. If it is still unclear, then it refers to an arrangement, in which the headquarters of a company uses one Enterprise Resource Planning system while a subsidiary at a different location uses another.

It is a beneficial arrangement especially for enterprises that may be running different processes at different places. Two-tiered ERP arrangements meet the needs of all locations with a better cost structure. If we listen to what the industry experts say about this new trend, then it’s best to go with smaller systems instead of having a big system in place for cost reduction.

If yours is a large enterprise, then this is a trend that might work for you.


Trend #7: Social ERP to become a Thing

Social media integration across all verticals is becoming the norm. The next emerging trend in the ERP landscape is linking this platform with social media.

It’s still in the future, and it’s going to take a while before this comes to fruition. The demand for integrating social media with ERP was not high as of July 2016. But experts believe it might pick up the pace soon if users can let vendors know their exact demands and needs.


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Final word

Over the years, demand for better and more efficient Enterprise Resource Planning solutions has increased. Vendors are continuing to tweak and refine their systems to meet ever-changing customer needs.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small company or a large enterprise, staying abreast of the latest happenings and emerging trends in ERP is essential to stay ahead of your game.

Written by Alexandre Painchaud Marketing Strategist @ Sherweb

Alex is always searching for new ways to help partners crush their marketing and sales goals. Previously a marketing content specialist at Sherweb, he’s well-versed in how to engage both existing partners and their potential clients in products, tools and solutions to help them succeed. When he’s not in the office planning new initiatives to drive partner revenue, Alex enjoys playing basketball and listening to true crime podcasts.