The advent of AI-based systems has completely changed how enterprises view their end-to-end ERP journeys. It’s undebatable that they help streamline workflows between HR, finance, procurement, and legal teams. But this wasn’t a luxuriously bold move by several enterprises to maximize their ERP potential. The underlying fact is that it became clear that legacy ERP systems are on their way out due to their inability to cope with the increased flow of data – rendering them incapable of powering decision-making capabilities.

Many OEMs have already announced that they will be offboarding their legacy support in the coming years and switching over to providing modular cloud support. But unfortunately, it also means that enterprises have to answer a new bunch of questions that could potentially make or break their ERP system.

Key questions to ask before ERP modernization

  1. Is it a best-of-breed OEM solution or an all-in-one suite – and does it align with your short-term and long-term business goals?
  2. Do you have access to powerful data streams to provide actionable insights to make the right decision at the right time?
  3. Is your ERP system fully mobile-enabled to allow remote teams to use all the features without facing UI challenges?
  4. Can you smoothly transition from a hybrid model to a cloud-first model without losing data control?
  5. Can your users leverage self-powered usability to stop performing repetitive tasks and contribute more strategically?
  6. Do you have the right security protocols to ensure uncompromised risk mitigation even if a majority of the users are working remotely?
  7. Will you be able to avoid unnecessary application updates/upgrades and instead customize them on a need basis?
  8. Can you develop new features on top of the ERP application layers to meet unique enterprise requirements?

Four important steps in your journey to creating a modern ERP strategy

Create a roadmap and set the budget

Creating a pre-implementation roadmap is critical because it helps overcome inefficient cost control – one of the biggest derailers of modern ERP journeys. Just as importantly, it ensures holistic goal setting, which aligns ERP implementation goals to enterprise objectives. Understanding the journey ahead and the costs involved also increases employee confidence in carrying out their day-to-day tasks faster and smarter than before.

For example, with ERP workflows becoming more complex and data-heavy, enterprises need to understand the near-future scope of automation. If there’s only a third-party RPA solution integrated into the legacy systems, that’s merely the tip of your budget’s iceberg. Planning ahead to leverage hyper-automation can help significantly cut down future costs and operational inefficiencies associated with complicated workflows, resource onboarding, long implementation cycle.

Be prepared to tackle integration barriers

Any enterprise that has introduced a new ERP software can attest that the only thing constant in

integration is being prepared to tackle the unexpected – from deployment issues to growing data access and storage challenges. After all, many enterprises still rely on manual workflows while using a digitally-enabled ERP system. Therefore, it becomes doubly important to enable smooth integration and ensure uninterrupted operations.

Let’s say that your ERP touchpoints are coupled with other multiple systems – invariably increasing the level of co-dependency to support even a single process. You would require integration components that let data seamlessly flow through your ecosystem without looking out for external resources to handhold you through the process.

Stay on top of ERP-related risks

Catching ERP risks after it’s too late is a common problem – especially faced by enterprises undergoing modernization. However, a thorough risk assessment can reveal forthcoming problems like inaccurate data verification or lack of insights – reducing the pressure on your IT, business, and finance teams. It also helps avoid delayed/duplicated payment and fraud instances, which could otherwise cause serious financial and reputational risks.

The lack of proactive monitoring is a good example of a modernization risk, which could accelerate the speed of attacks on ERP systems or further expose security vulnerabilities.

Enable continuous user awareness

With plug-and-play ERP systems closer to becoming a reality, your strategy must focus on foreseeing and bridging gaps that hamper workforce productivity – thereby affecting technology ROI. Just because your users can work with the software without undergoing lengthy training sessions doesn’t mean they can maximize its features from the get-go. Instead, the onus must be to steadily increase adoption rates with an easily accessible knowledge management system – with video demos, FAQs, webinars, and dedicated helpdesk support.

Now, any successful modern ERP strategy depends on data analytics, considering the amount of information fed into ERP systems. But your users should be equipped with the knowledge to fully utilize the advanced dashboard features to garner actionable insights. Else, your ERP potential will continue to be largely untapped.

Final thoughts

Anytime, anyplace ERP availability may sound like a distant dream – especially for IT and business teams who have first-hand experiences about how challenging the transformation can be. However, advancements in AI, automation, blockchain, and data analytics have already sounded the battle cry that the uberization of ERP will soon be upon the enterprise world.

Moreover, the SaaS-first mindset has also influenced CFOs and CEOs to revisit the drawing board to implement a future-ready ERP strategy. Hence, answering all the right questions and planning in advance to eliminate adoption barriers can go a long way to fulfilling your ERP’s potential.