Promises, Promises: Has the ERP Promise Finally Become a Reality?
“You made me promises, promises you knew you’d never keep. Promises, promises why do I believe?”
Those of us fortunate, or unfortunate, enough to enjoy the 80’s may remember these lyrics. The lyrics could have been about the state of ERP before Cloud ERP came around. Before the Cloud, ERP promise was just that, a promise. The benefits touted by ERP Vendors, such as connecting everyone and every function and every location in the organization, were largely out of reach for small to mid-sized companies.
ERP: Then and Now
Twenty plus years ago, ERP wasn’t a widely known term. From 1980-1990, Enterprise Resource Planning took its first steps in evolution. However, the overall goal of ERP technology has always been the same: Connect all the people in an organization from every function at every location.
As time progressed, large companies caught onto the concept of connecting all parts of their business. However, technology still wasn’t innovative enough to support all the potential ERP had to offer.
Common pay-per-user pricing made it difficult and expensive to have everyone in the system. People also might not have owned their own computer or been able to access company servers so they couldn’t access the ERP software. Every location wasn’t connected due to costly implementation costs. There was also not a way to securely include partners and customers.
The new millennium brought on the invention of the Internet. Users had the ability to access ERP from any web-accessible computer. However, security issues still remained and it was hard to integrate cloud technology with on-premises systems.
Now in 2013, the latest and greatest in cloud ERP technology has arrived. The time to process reports has changed from days to minutes. All the obstacles standing in the way of the ERP vision are being combated thanks to these solutions:
Companies pay a flat rate for unlimited users. So if your company grows and you need to add more users, you will not have to worry about increasing costs.
You can check up on the ERP system on your laptop, smart phone, tablet, or just about any device with internet access.
3. Data Storage
Data is stored in secure and scalable data centers so from the infrastructure point of view, the solution is economically sustainable.
Lack of security measures of past ERP systems made it nearly impossible for businesses to share data with external parties but thanks to advancements in encryption technology, businesses can now share data with anyone (partners, customers, employees, etc.) without having to worry about security.
In a sense, ERP was an idea that was far ahead of its time when first introduced. The technology at the time could not properly accommodate all the functions that an ERP system was expected to perform. Although there is still work to be done, the original vision of what an ERP system should be is slowly but surely beginning to become a reality. Considering the advancements in technology and the ERP industry, it certainly seems like not only is ERP here to stay, but with expected future technological advancements, it has a distinctively bright future.
By Stijn Hendrikse,
Stijn is the Chief Marketing Officer at Acumatica. He has over 20 years of experience in the software business.