Anyone who reads the ERP media coverage has seen the writing on the wall for some time: the market is shifting and individual consumer demand is rapidly becoming a determining factor in corporate IT decision-making. The suits are being influenced by employees who want mobile technology that they can access at home and on the road. Ergo, the ERP vendors that will survive the shift are those that develop ERP applications that staff members can utilize on their smartphones, tablets and desktops. In short, applications that fit into what the consumer/employee wants . . . not what the ERP vendor deems is necessary or “best practice.” As this reality sets in, the ERP providers have started to run to catch up to this new demands of the informed — and vocal — ERP end-user.
SAP, for instance, which is arguably a leader in the field in just about every measurable way, recently released an app for parents called Recalls Plus. Available in Apple’s App Store, the “lifestyle” product allows mom and dad to track and monitor recalls that potentially could affect a child’s health or wellbeing. To some, this might sound more like something that Parents Magazine, Consumer Reports or even a PR-savvy pharmaceutical company would release but to SAP, there clearly lies benefit in exploring new ways to connect its brand with consumers — even those as potentially “non-ERP” as worried parents. As probably all of us recognize, long gone is the segregation between our home lives and our work lives. The mother or father wondering about BPA in little Tommy’s milk bottle is the same person making the tough call to implement a new ERP system at work. And the more a company like SAP can connect with that decision-maker and prove itself a trusted provider of desirable technology, the greater chance it has to make the big money sale down the road.
While the chances that other ERP vendors will follow suit are strong, they likely will focus on providing an even more varied menu of cloud ERP and mobile ERP offerings to engage with customers and make sure their services are available on every consumer platform imaginable. Oracle likely won’t release a scheduling module to help manage soccer and swim practices is what I’m saying. But the smart, forward-looking vendors — and Oracle is definitely included in that — will continue to diversify their selection to fit the ever-growing needs and demands of the end-users of the ERP systems. After all, if the end-users have increased productivity and efficiency due to better ERP products, then everyone’s happy.
To find out more about new ERP technologies, please download Frequently Asked Questions About Cloud ERP from our ERP White Papers page or contact us to discuss your organization’s wants and needs in depth.