As Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) continues to evolve, and with interest in the search term ‘ERP’ up by 78%¹, Simon Langdown, a specialist in Microsoft ERP at Essenkay, shares his expert insights, highlighting the key trends and considerations regarding ERP’s future. 

Data shows that 79% of UK businesses face data quality challenges², which come from managing the vast amounts of information their activities generate. Often, this information is stored in various systems or, in the worst-case scenario, is not tracked and managed at all, leading to poor business decisions and, probably most importantly, loss of profit. 

An ERP system, on the other hand, will gather all the relevant information from all business areas in a streamlined and efficient way, allowing decision-makers to make appropriate decisions based on the insights it provides.

“As businesses become more digitalised, they must know that their information systems need to evolve and grow with them,” says Simon. This is particularly true for the most frequent adopters of ERP systems, which include manufacturing (47%), logistics (18%), construction (4%), and financial and professional services (12%), among others³. 

With 77%⁴ of business leaders believing that data is pivotal in navigating turbulent times, including the upcoming general election, ERP systems address unique challenges across sectors by offering customised solutions. Emerging trends in ERP will further support how businesses operate across all industries. 

When asked what businesses can expect from the future of ERP and how it will support decision-making, Simon comments: “In our increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world, cloud ERP is becoming essential, enabling remote work and greater flexibility for employees. The volatility of price movements means ERP must provide accurate cost information to help businesses navigate inflation, labour shortages, and supply chain constraints. AI integration into ERP systems will be a game-changer, enhancing efficiency, agility, and innovation, making ERP systems more user-centric and adaptive.

As ERP systems evolve, its role will become even more critical. Simon adds: “Enhanced financial insights through predictive analytics will empower CFOs to make proactive decisions. At the same time, AI will automate routine tasks, improve data accuracy, and optimise processes, freeing employees for more strategic work. Decision automation through machine learning will simplify task execution and provide rapid data analysis for better decision-making.

“ERP systems will also support sustainability initiatives by tracking energy use, carbon emissions, and other metrics, helping businesses make informed environmental decisions. Augmented reality will revolutionise worker engagement by providing real-time insights and visual instructions, and AI-driven process mining will offer clear, actionable insights to improve operational efficiency.”

Navigating ERP’s future involves understanding its role across industries, addressing implementation challenges, and embracing emerging trends. A people-first approach to ERP is important, ensuring that technology enhances human capabilities and drives business success. 

In a world of tightening profit margins, supply chain challenges and fragmented working practices due to remote and hybrid working, those businesses that adopt effective ERP systems will undoubtedly outperform their competitors. 

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