It’s trendy to move as much software to the cloud as possible, and there appear to be great benefits. But is it automatically the case that you should move your precious enterprise software to the cloud, too? What are the different ways of doing it, and what should you look for in the partners you ask to help you?
Think for a moment about how organizations are evolving. They all want to be lean, fast and specialized. They’re trying to become more adaptable, intelligent and resilient. Wherever you look, it’s a pretty consistent pattern.
Now, think about the main trends in enterprise software. It seems to be evolving in 20 directions at once: AI, ML, SaaS, PaaS—it feels like you’re drowning in alphabet soup. Even when you spot a recognizable word like “cloud,” there are half a dozen different flavors.
Edge computing means processing data near where it’s produced and consumed. It’s another dimension to that age-old workload placement question, “Where’s the best place to do this?” The trend this century has been to move computing into the data center or the cloud — now we have to consider the edge as well.
Necessity is the mother of invention — and the pandemic has certainly triggered some surprising innovations. “First up in the next normal,” says a recent McKinsey briefing on Covid-19’s implications for business, “is ‘revenge shopping,’ as many consumers open their wallets for goods and services they’ve done without recently.”
The last nine months have imposed many changes on organizations. They’ve found that they can change dramatically overnight if they have to.
The need to be agile in both financial planning and corporate action has come into sharp focus. As McKinsey noted in an article on performance management under Covid-19, “Companies need a new approach to financial planning and performance management — one that informs rapid realignment of plans and actions and ensures organizational resilience.”
Is there a revolution, a significant evolution or at least a new generation of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)? This was the subject of a conversation with Claus Jepsen, CTO of Unit4. Unit4 recently announced ERPx, what it calls a self-driving ERP. The architecture of this new product is micro-services based and considerably different from anything than has been before. Jepsen explained how RPA is woven throughout the new solution with threads extending well beyond it to connect to other solutions and more traditional ERP and RPA systems.
Automating business processes saves time and money, but what’s right for one organization might not be right for another — what you automate, how much you automate it and the approach you take all need careful consideration.
Robotic process automation (RPA) of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software isn’t anything new. It’s possible to automate simple, rule-based business processes like workflow steps, completing time sheets and invoicing. Doing so speeds up processes, improves accuracy and compliance, and frees people to get on with more interesting and valuable work.
The criticism commonly levelled against enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems is that they are monolithic and generalist software slabs: suites of applications, dense with features and functions, designed to cover just about any need an enterprise might have, with a uniform user interface layered over for a common look and feel. Whatever it is you’re trying to achieve, the ERP has it covered.
Last year in this space, we predicted that “the humanity of the enterprise will be at center stage.” The pandemic certainly brought people front and center in ways nobody could have foreseen. COVID-19 also accelerated digital transformation, and that will have implications for core enterprise systems in 2021.
Both IDC and Gartner say that enterprise resource planning (ERP) is going to change dramatically in the coming years. IDC suggests that modular, intelligent task apps will be integral to how applications are delivered. They will be loosely coupled, opening up a whole new range of opportunities to use robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) or automation.
This year, the pandemic taught us the truth of old proverb “necessity is the mother of invention.” When companies had to close offices on short notice to control the spread of the virus, IT teams innovated like never before. In a remarkably short time, they put the assets in place to make all-remote work possible. Almost overnight, they stood up infrastructures to enable businesses to operate virtually.