Good news for companies using, deploying, or planning for ERP: Solutions are advancing to be more flexible and more closely targeted to the specific requirements of businesses and users; to support mobile, anytime, anywhere usage scenarios; and to connect people and resources for better productivity. To-Increase is incorporating those trends in its solution development. These positive ERP developments help us bring greater value to your business and the industries we serve.
Specialization and task focus replace complex, all-in-one ERP
When businesses invest in ERP systems, they traditionally expect to acquire a large, complex solution that provides them with capabilities to manage all or most of their activities. Implementations of these systems have to be well-managed to ensure the result meets business needs. Employee adoption depends on thorough familiarization and training in addition to the usability of the ERP solution’s functions. However, the ice of this traditional ERP model is thawing as solution providers like To-Increase change the way they design and build software to support the tasks businesses find most valuable and important at a given time. There is still an ERP system at the core of the business management infrastructure—it serves as a platform that can flexibly support business entities, processes, task loads, and development of vertical or specialized solutions. Businesses that deploy, for example, To-Increase Discrete Manufacturing will be able to take advantage of such specialization to choose which capabilities they want to use and add others as their requirements demand. Over time, you may still end up with a large, all-encompassing ERP solution, but that will be so because that is what best fits the business, not because it’s the only thing available.
As a consequence of this modularity, the costs of acquiring new technology become far more manageable. When well-designed, modern software facilitates very specific tasks and processes, users tend to adopt instead of resisting it, and you can shorten the time to generate benefits from technology. Without the disruption a business-wide ERP solution can cause, change management in this organic approach becomes a relatively minor, manageable task.
Business data meets role requirements
Business requirements will not just determine the software functionalities companies use, but also determine which information and decision-making capabilities are available to an organization’s roles. Instead of applying analytical tools to a database or a data warehouse, employees have access to business information as their jobs and accountabilities demand. Role Centers and dashboards in the Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions bring meaningful BI content and metrics to a company’s key decision-maker roles. To-Increase integrates with the Microsoft Dynamics role centers and makes information even more actionable and relevant by delivering data for the specific roles in the vertical markets we serve, including manufacturing and construction.
Mobility supports users anywhere
One good example for where we see ERP going with rich, yet simple applications is our new Product Engineering App. For field engineers and product managers, it connects with Microsoft Dynamics AX through the Microsoft Azure bus to enable BI-enhanced decision-making regarding engineering change requests (ECR). The app serves a specific audience in performing an important task with role-optimized data. As you may know, the app runs on a Windows 8 tablet and supports a user group that is almost exclusively mobile. Other mobile solutions from To-Increase connect PDAs with the ERP system, like Data Collection Studio does. Through Data Collection Studio, you can also have access to a warehouse dashboard (based on HTML5) from any connected device. In supporting mobility, ERP systems and industry solutions will by and by shed any device requirements, allowing users to perform their tasks on the hardware they prefer. The deployment of ERP solutions in the cloud will only accelerate device neutrality. As many businesses rely at least partly on mobile and distributed workforces, ERP and industry software follows to meet users where they are.
People, technologies, and resources connect
Connection will continue to be a main theme for ERP solutions. More and more companies move their ERP solutions and other business-critical applications to the cloud, where it becomes much easier to connect ERP with other technological capabilities, specialized services, and business processes. To make these cloud-facilitated connections reliable and valuable, ERP systems need to incorporate standardization and automation to a high degree. In the cloud, To-Increase works on the Microsoft Azure bus to serve as a stable, resilient, scalable foundation for evolving applications and changing business needs. As we reduce the complexity of solutions and their implementation through the task-based approach we mentioned, it will become much easier for businesses to link their people, processes, and resources. In addition, To-Increase Business Integration Solutions can help them connect their technologies and gain more value from them.
ERP systems and vertical solutions also need to evolve to support social sharing and collaboration among individual users, teams, business groups, and organizations, within the same software environment. To-Increase is creating technology to enable social productivity. Field and product engineers using our Product Engineering App, for example, who record and update ECRs, can connect with their colleagues through such social channels as Yammer or Twitter, or send email messages to them.
As you see, these ERP developments are very closely related and complement each other. We will continue to explore them by means of our innovation as well as here in the blog.