As the Managing Director of Pemeco, a well respected ERP Implementation Partner in Canada and the US, Jonathan Gross is hoping to see the ERP Industry will recover by the short to mid-term after the pandemic.
“We need to look at the impacts of Covid-19 by the time horizon,” he says. In the immediate-term, he thinks ERP software sales and integrator service markets are going to stall or even see declines. “For example, though we do have clients pressing forward with their projects, we have many more that have decided to hit the pause button,” he adds, but he states that the short-term impacts remain uncertain.
“If the lockdown periods continue to be stretched, and if the economy slides into a deep recession, the pause period could be prolonged. As a counterweight, companies now have increased pressures to improve their supply chain management, planning, and anywhere/anytime access capabilities. Couple those with macro digital transformation pressures, we’re hoping to see the industry recover by the short to mid-term.”
Pemeco has been in the industry since 1978 and has managed more than 700 major transformations projects. Looking from the business perspective, Gross thinks the top concern is workforce health and safety. “Companies deemed non-essential are worried about keeping on the lights. Many have laid off their workers, have customers stretching payment terms, and have had their supply chains choked. Essential businesses – companies in the food, energy, and medical device industries, for example – continue to thrive.”
Gross thinks it will also be a time of enlightenment for the businesses about working remotely. “I expect that we’re going to see a much quicker adoption of remote work. Companies that might not have otherwise adopted remote work arrangements are forced to figure it out now,” he explains, “and, they might soon realize that these types of arrangements – if properly enabled with technology – don’t compromise productivity to the extent expected. And, they might prove to be more cost-effective than the alternative. Enterprises can cut travel spend, office overhead, and inefficient commute time.”
Gross says that to succeed, they’ll need to embrace a move to cloud collaboration tools such as video and web conferencing, electronic document management, and accessible enterprise software systems. And he adds “With the heaving impact on manufacturing and distribution, I’m curious to see whether we’ll see quicker adoption of automation technologies and robots.”
Gross is not so optimistic about the impacts of the pandemic on digital transformation. “Worst-case scenario contingency planning is usually an exercise that lives and dies on paper. Most companies don’t fund expensive projects to stave off once-in-a-lifetime black swan events,” he says and explains “They’re going to need to rethink how they model disasters and what workloads can be shifted to technology. Interestingly, companies should also plan for the inverse – using people-based processes to workaround catastrophic disruptions to technologies.”
Using time correctly and turning the crisis into an opportunity is of great value for the future of every business. You have to choose the tool you use to catch the opportunities in this foggy sea. The most important thing to keep in mind is that this fog will disperse one day, and you will be there with the right software in the next uncertainty!
Pemeco Consulting is a vendor-neutral firm with a 40-year history of successfully delivering complex ERP and digital transformation projects for manufacturers and distributors.