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Let’s be honest…I’ve written a top 10 ERP software predictions list now for the last 10 years, and the truth is: I can’t predict the future any better than you or anyone else.

Sure, my team and I help hundreds of organizations across the world with their ERP systems each year. We see our fair share of trends, new technologies, things that work, things that don’t work and a host of other things that lead us to some conclusions about what the future holds.

I could rattle off the usual hype about cloud ERP systems, digital transformation, business intelligence, artificial intelligence, best of breed solutions and all the other buzzwords that plenty of other industry pundits have already covered.  Instead, I’d rather predict what I think you and others like you will do with your ERP software initiatives in 2017.

Here are my top 10 predictions, in no particular order:

1. Finally pull the trigger on new ERP software.

Whether you are part of a small or large organization, chances are that you’ve been sitting on the decision to move on to new ERP software for too long. This is the year to say goodbye to that old legacy, the green screen, or the Excel spreadsheets. It’s going to be okay. Technology has come too far and become too cost effective for your organization to be limping along on an outdated system that undermines your business objectives.

2. Carefully consider all of your viable ERP system options.

As Panorama’s 2017 Top 10 ERP System Rankings suggest, there are plenty of viable ERP systems beyond the usual suspects to choose from. For example, Infor CloudSuite, IFS and NetSuite all ranked higher than some of their larger counterparts. Companies of all sizes and industry verticals have exponentially more viable software options to choose from than they had in years past.

3. Consider a variety of digital transformation options.

More good news: gone are the days of being forced down the path of single ERP systems. Thanks to flexible integration tools and a wide variety of functional and industry point solutions available, best of breed systems no longer have a stigma attached to them. Additionally, diverse tools such as eCommerce and business intelligence systems extend the realm of possibilities beyond traditional ERP software.

4. Don’t give in to the industry hype.

Yes, the cloud is hot right now and artificial intelligence will be hot in 2017 and beyond, but don’t let the hype determine what technologies you adopt. As long as you’re not picking a dying technology (think: AS/400 mainframe applications), then your options are limitless. Stick to what is the best for what your business needs now and in the future.

5. Learn from the lessons and failures of others.

The industry is littered with ERP failures, lawsuits and mistakes of CIOs past. Don’t let your organization become a case study for what not to do (or worse yet, one of our ERP project recovery or expert witness clients). Instead, learn from what others have done right and what they have done wrong. Attending Panorama’s Digital Transformation and ERP Boot Camp training is one way to arm yourself with the expertise required to succeed.

6. Make your business processes and requirements your #1 priority

Before you select or implement new ERP software, make sure that you have defined your business processes and requirements in detail. Otherwise, you will spin your wheels evaluating new systems and/or spend too much time and money implementing your new system. Business processes should be the foundation for your entire initiative.

7. Avoid the temptation to cut corners on organizational change management.

Most CIOs, organizations and project teams are notorious for spending too little time and money on organizational change management. In fact, I have yet to meet an executive that regrets spending “too much effort” on their change initiatives. However, this could be the year that things improve for the better in this area.

8. Hire ERP consultants that are independent and know what they are doing.

The industry is full of ERP consultants that either don’t know what they are doing, don’t have your best interests in mind because they have a financial incentive to peddle specific solutions and/or don’t have the business acumen to manage a complex business transformation. Make sure that you hire outside help that has your business interests in mind and know what they are doing.

9. Make your ERP software implementation a poster child for others to aspire to.

It may be true that most ERP implementations and digital transformations struggle – and too many outright fail – but success is easy if you follow proven processes and methods. Check out our ERP resource center to leverage some of our best practices on your project. Or, contact us to speak to one of our successful clients to find out how they did it. Either way, don’t try to go it alone.

10. Learn from my predictions blog from last year.

If you’re still looking for more, you can also read my Top 10 Predictions for the ERP Industry in 2016, which haven’t changed much headed into 2017. And feel free to contact me to discuss in more detail.Maybe I’m optimistic heading into 2017. Or maybe I’m just tired of seeing the same failures over the last 20 years. Whatever the reason, I predict that 2017 will be a good year for your ERP initiatives!

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