Process-model based, configurable applications based on Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) are the next big trend for ERP business applications. The key factor here is the adoption of component-based business applications (Object model), which are oriented towards service architecture and native web services, and the shift of focus from the familiar pillars of enterprise applications (financials, SCM, CRM, HCM, PLM, Procurement etc) to end-to-end business processes.
The business process will be driven by BPMS suite of products, which will be mapped to a single suite of ERP applications or a composite application. Today’s enterprise applications will perform more than just transactions; they will have rich analytics, i.e. BI tools which combine traditional and transactional data with Web2.0 applications, social network, community market research surveys, email information, and blog content which render information available to users for easy decision making.
Currently the hot trends amongst enterprises wanting to adopt business applications are:
-Consolidation of multi-type applications into a single instance resulting in application right-sizing
-Adoption of collaborative applications for exchanging data/ information with trading partners such as customers, partners, suppliers, dealers and so on
-Effective use of BI tools to create business intelligence for decision making at ‘C’ level. For e.g.: Role-based dash board for CEO, CFO level
-Predictive analytics for forecasting and real time decision making
-Use of BPM tools or BPMS suite of products to make the business process more streamlined and ensure effective implementation and functioning of any enterprise solution, when deployed
-Identifying applications that can be delivered on the cloud and core applications that need to be on-premise. Enterprises are working towards arriving at a hybrid delivery model, which will ensure that information integrity is maintained for end-to-end business processes.
For organizations, here are some critical parameters to consider while investing in an IT product related to Business Applications.
- Does the system help to make smart, informed business decisions?
- Does it support and connect key business processes?
- Does it lower or improve operational costs and increase the efficiency of the current operations?
- How far does it help in automating workflow with security and control?
- Does the product have best practices incorporated for my industry and different business functions?
- Can I have operational metrics designed for each functional area? Can I drill down to consistent, accurate transactions in case any question arises?
- Does the system have provisions to alert me against transactions?
- Is it flexible for business changes?
- Can I scale up or down to suit my business needs?
- Does it comply with regulatory and financial reporting guidelines?
- What is the Total Cost of Ownership?
- What are the qualitative and quantitative benefits, and RoI?
Analyzing the answers to these questions will enable organizations to make informed decisions. The popularity of ERP as a business application does deserve a special mention. The most crucial factor in the whole system of ERP is the implementation aspect. The implementation phase has the ability to cast the spell on ERP'S fortune!