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ERP trends in 2023: A look at the future of procurement

ERP trends in 2023: A look at the future of procurement

The world of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is continuously evolving, and it's crucial for procurement, finance, and IT professionals to keep pace. New trends and technologies in 2023 are reshaping the way businesses operate, promising greater efficiency, improved visibility, and better control over various processes. Understanding these trends allows professionals to make informed decisions, leverage new opportunities, and stay competitive in the rapidly changing business environment.

Key Trends:
  • Cloud ERP systems offer numerous benefits, including cost savings, flexibility, and accessibility.
  • IoT integration with ERP systems enables real-time insights and improved efficiency in business operations.
  • Industry-specific ERP solutions cater to the unique needs of different sectors, enhancing productivity and competitiveness.
  • Personalized ERP solutions provide customizable user interfaces and workflows, addressing unique business needs.
  • AI-driven ERP systems improve efficiency, automate tasks, and offer real-time insights into business operations.
  • Mobile ERP solutions cater to the increasingly mobile workforce, providing real-time access to information and fostering collaboration, productivity, and enhanced customer service from anywhere, anytime.
  • The intake-to-pay approach in ERP systems automates and integrates the entire procurement process, leading to improved efficiency, significant cost savings, enhanced compliance, and greater visibility.
  • Procurement orchestration streamlines and automates procurement processes within ERP systems, providing a unified data management platform that improves control over procurement operations, reduces costs, and strengthens supplier relationships.

The above trends underline the ongoing digital transformation of the procurement industry, driven by the advent of new technologies and approaches. These businesses are actively looking for help with processing high payables, in fact 67% are looking for an ERP assist with high payables.​ Staying on top of these trends is essential for procurement, finance, and IT professionals who aim to ensure their organizations remain competitive, efficient, and resilient. Let’s get into more depth on each trend. 

Cloud ERP

Cloud ERP is the future of business operations. It allows businesses to access and use ERP applications over the internet, rather than installing and maintaining them on-premises. With the adoption of cloud-based solutions, businesses can cut costs, optimize processes and stay ahead of the competition. Benefits of this technology include flexibility, scalability, and accessibility. 

Moving to the cloud means that businesses can access their data from anywhere in the world, on any device, at any time. Additionally, a key advantage of Cloud ERP is increased security. Hosting data and applications in the cloud means that businesses can focus on their core operations while benefiting from the latest security technologies that come standard with cloud service providers.

Increasing Adoption Rate

The adoption of Cloud ERP is on the rise as more businesses recognize its potential benefits. Rather than relying on on-premise servers, businesses can leverage the advantages of the cloud, including increased collaboration and productivity. There are a number of factors driving the growth of cloud ERP, including:

  • The increasing popularity of cloud computing
  • The need for businesses to be more agile and responsive to change
  • The growing importance of data security
  • The need for businesses to collaborate more effectively across different locations

Cloud ERP is increasingly becoming the norm, which can be seen with the growth in popularity of software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, which are offered through the cloud.

Challenges and Solutions

While Cloud ERP offers a host of benefits, there are challenges that businesses will face during the adoption process. One of the biggest challenges is data migration. Although cloud service providers offer solutions to move data from on-site servers to the cloud, the process must be done with caution to avoid data loss or corruption. 

Cloud ERP providers have a responsibility to protect their customers' data. However, there is always the risk that data could be compromised, either through a security breach or human error. Businesses also need to ensure that their cloud ERP solution complies with all applicable laws and regulations.

Another challenge is the integration of existing systems with the new cloud ERP system. This can require significant customization and testing to ensure that workflows are not disrupted. However, these challenges can be overcome with the right expertise and planning. There are solutions available to assist with data migration, system integration, and customization. It’s all about finding the right partner who has experience in Cloud ERP adoption to guide businesses through the process.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

Integration of IoT with ERP

The integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems is a pivotal trend shaping the future of business operations in 2023. As IoT devices become more sophisticated and widespread, they are increasingly being incorporated into ERP systems to streamline processes, enhance data accessibility, and provide real-time insights into various aspects of a business. 

This seamless integration allows organizations to harness the power of connected devices, sensors, and actuators, enabling them to monitor and manage every aspect of their operations from a single platform. As a result, businesses can make data-driven decisions faster, optimize workflows, and achieve greater efficiency and agility in their day-to-day activities.

Benefits for Data Collection and Process Optimization

IoT integration with ERP systems offers numerous benefits for data collection and process optimization. By leveraging the vast array of data collected by IoT devices, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their processes, uncover inefficiencies, and identify opportunities for improvement. 

This wealth of information allows companies to optimize their operations, reduce waste, and improve productivity. Furthermore, the real-time nature of IoT data collection enables businesses to quickly adapt to changing conditions, such as fluctuations in demand or unexpected equipment failures. This agility can lead to significant cost savings, improved customer satisfaction, and a stronger competitive edge in the market.

Potential Pitfalls

Despite the many advantages of integrating IoT with ERP systems, there are potential pitfalls that businesses must be aware of and address proactively. One major concern is data security, as the increased connectivity of devices and systems can introduce new vulnerabilities that malicious actors could exploit. Ensuring that robust security measures are in place, and that data is encrypted and stored securely, is essential to mitigate these risks. 

The vast amount of data generated by IoT devices can overwhelm existing data management and analysis systems, leading to performance issues and missed opportunities for optimization. It is crucial for organizations to invest in scalable and reliable data processing solutions that can handle the increased data volume and complexity. Successful IoT-ERP integration requires careful planning and change management to minimize disruption to existing workflows and ensure a smooth transition for employees.

Industry-specific ERP

Customized Solutions for Different Sectors

Industry-specific ERP solutions offer customized solutions for different sectors, catering to the unique needs of each industry. One size does not fit all when it comes to ERP, which is why tailored solutions are crucial. 

From healthcare to manufacturing, industry-specific ERP systems offer solutions that streamline operations, increase efficiency, and ultimately save businesses valuable time and money. With new advancements in technology, these customized solutions are only going to become more integral in the future of business operations.

Tailored Features and Functionalities

The trend of industry-specific ERP systems is growing, and for good reason. These tailored solutions offer features and functionalities that are unique to each industry, setting them apart from one-size-fits-all ERP systems. By providing a more targeted approach, these ERP systems can increase productivity and help companies stand out in their respective markets. As businesses continue to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the digital age, industry-specific ERP systems will be essential for those who want to stay ahead of the curve.

Examples of Industry-Specific ERPs

Industry-specific ERP systems cover a wide range of sectors, from healthcare to retail to manufacturing. For example, healthcare ERPs can manage electronic medical records and ensure compliance with industry regulations, while retail ERPs offer inventory management and e-commerce capabilities. The manufacturing industry can benefit from ERP systems that offer production planning and control, while the agriculture sector can utilize ERP solutions for crop management and supply chain management. 

There are many different industry-specific ERP solutions available on the market. Some of the most popular include:

  • SAP for manufacturing
  • Oracle for financial services
  • Microsoft Dynamics for customer service
  • Infor for retail
  • Epicor for distribution

These are just a few examples of the many industry-specific ERP solutions that are available. When choosing an ERP solution, it is important to consider the specific needs of your business and the industry in which you operate.

Personalized ERP Solutions

Customizable User Interfaces and Workflows

The Evolution of ERP has brought about one of the most exciting trends in the world of business operations: personalized ERP solutions. It’s now possible to customize user interfaces and workflows to suit the unique needs of businesses. 

This ensures a more efficient and streamlined approach to managing complex processes. Companies can tailor their ERP solution to their specific requirements and preferences, allowing for more intuitive navigation, less training time and better overall user experiences. With advanced capabilities like these, personalized ERP solutions are changing the game for small and large-scale businesses alike. 

Addressing Unique Business Needs

Businesses are no longer limited to generic ERP solutions; they can now customize and address their unique needs. In 2023, ERP solutions will provide a more flexible approach to managing operations, catering for different industries, and business models. 

Companies can now consider more specific requirements such as payment processing, inventory management, and sales forecasting. Businesses can address challenges such as scaling challenges, integration difficulties, or adapting their processes to new geographies. There are endless possibilities and benefits that personalized ERP solutions can bring to the future of business operations.

Tips for Personalizing ERP Solutions

The personalized nature of ERP solutions means that it's now possible to develop tailored software solutions that meet specific business needs. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to ERP solutions personalization. Tips for personalizing ERP solutions will vary by individual organizations and their specific requirements. However, companies can consider a few essential tips that will help create the most effective personalized ERP solutions possible. 

For example, companies can develop in-depth knowledge about their workflows, user preferences and requirements. It's also important to work with leading ERP solutions providers, and make full use of features like configurators, analytics, and other customization tools. When done correctly, personalized ERP solutions can create a more efficient, flexible, and tailored approach to managing business operations.

Artificial Intelligence

Role of Artificial Intelligence in ERP systems

Artificial intelligence has become an integral part of ERP systems evolution over the past few years, with its application increasing day by day. AI has revolutionized ERP systems by improving efficiency, making analysis and decision-making faster, reducing the human error factor, and boosting productivity.

AI-infused ERP systems can analyze data in real-time and provide intelligent insights into business operations to help organizations improve their operations. By leveraging machine learning algorithms and natural language processing, ERP systems can automate and optimize several routine, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks.

AI-driven Features and Benefits

AI-driven features and benefits of ERP systems include, but are not limited to, predictive analytics, intelligent reporting, automated workflows, natural language processing, and robotic process automation. These features make ERP systems smarter, faster, and more efficient, providing users with real-time insights into various business processes, automating tedious workflows, and optimizing decision-making. AI-driven ERP systems can improve collaboration, customer satisfaction, and operational effectiveness while reducing errors, costs, and risks.

Examples of AI-powered ERP Implementations

AI-powered ERP implementations have been deployed in various industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and retail, with proven results. In manufacturing, AI-powered ERP systems are used to optimize the supply chain, reduce inventory costs, and accelerate the production cycle. In healthcare, AI-infused ERP systems help analyze patient data, streamline resource allocation, and improve clinical outcomes.

Some examples of AI-powered ERP implementations include:

  • Walmart: Walmart uses AI to predict customer demand, optimize inventory levels, and manage pricing. This has helped Walmart to reduce costs and improve profitability.
  • Nike: Nike uses AI to personalize the shopping experience for its customers. This has helped Nike to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction.

As AI continues to evolve, it is likely to play an even greater role in ERP systems. By automating tasks, improving decision-making, and providing insights, AI can help businesses to operate more efficiently, effectively, and profitably.

Two-Tier ERP

Definition and Benefits

Two-Tier ERP refers to a business strategy in which two different ERP systems are used within the same organization. The two systems are differentiated by their functionalities, with the corporate-level ERP managing financial and human resource data, while the lower-tier one handles production-related tasks. 

This approach allows for better flexibility and customization, as well as improved efficiency in both daily operations and decision-making processes. By leveraging specialized applications and microservices, companies can align their IT infrastructure with their business goals and operational needs, ensuring smoother collaboration among departments and partners.

Implementation Strategies

To implement a Two-Tier ERP strategy, companies need to consider several aspects, including their organizational structure, data management policies, and application architecture. One possible approach is to deploy a cloud-based ERP solution at the corporate level, which can be accessed and managed from anywhere, while relying on a more centralized, on-premise ERP system at the plant level. 

Another option is to adopt a hybrid model, leveraging both cloud and on-premise tools, to strike a balance between scalability, security, and cost-effectiveness. Regardless of the implementation strategy, companies should involve all stakeholders in the decision-making process, assess the potential impact of the new ERP system on different areas, and provide adequate training and support to end-users.

Potential Pitfalls

Despite its potential benefits, Two-Tier ERP poses some challenges and risks that companies need to address to prevent disruption to their operations and supply chain. One such concern is the integration of data between the two systems, which could lead to inconsistencies, errors, or delays in reporting and analysis. To mitigate this risk, companies should establish clear interfaces and data protocols between the systems, and invest in data cleansing and validation tools. 

Another potential pitfall is the lack of standardization and governance in the implementation and usage of the two systems, which could lead to redundancy, duplication, or conflicting practices. To avoid this, companies should establish clear roles and responsibilities for each system, define common standards and processes, and monitor compliance and performance on a regular basis.

Mobile ERP

Mobile ERP refers to an ERP system that is accessible on a mobile device, like a smartphone or a tablet. As the global workforce becomes increasingly mobile, the demand for Mobile ERP is on the rise. The ability to access critical business information and perform operational tasks from anywhere, at any time, has become essential for businesses looking to stay competitive in the modern digital era.

Mobile ERP is not just about convenience; it is a strategic tool that offers numerous benefits such as improved efficiency, better decision-making, increased productivity, and enhanced customer service. It enables real-time data access, allowing employees to react swiftly to changing business conditions. It also fosters improved collaboration among teams, regardless of their physical location.

Benefits of Mobile ERP

Mobile ERP offers a myriad of benefits that help organizations enhance their business operations and make faster, more informed decisions. Here are some of the key benefits:

Real-Time Access to Information: Mobile ERP allows users to access real-time data anytime, anywhere, enabling quicker responses to business needs and customer demands.

Improved Collaboration: With Mobile ERP, team members can collaborate more effectively, regardless of their location. This can increase productivity and improve the quality of decision-making.

Increased Productivity: Employees can access their ERP system on the go, which can lead to increased productivity. They can complete tasks, review data, and make decisions without being tied to a physical location.

Enhanced Customer Service: With Mobile ERP, sales and customer service teams can access up-to-date customer information in real-time, which can lead to better customer interactions and improved service levels.

Challenges and Solutions

While Mobile ERP offers significant advantages, there are also challenges that businesses need to consider. These include:

Security: The increased accessibility of ERP data on mobile devices poses new security risks. Businesses need to implement stringent security measures, including encryption, two-factor authentication, and secure network connections to mitigate these risks.

User Experience: The user interface and customer experience of Mobile ERP apps need to be carefully designed to ensure ease of use on smaller screens. Responsive design and intuitive navigation are key elements of a successful Mobile ERP application.

Integration: Mobile ERP needs to integrate seamlessly with other business systems. Businesses must ensure their ERP provider offers robust integration capabilities to avoid data silos and ensure a unified view of business operations.

Despite these challenges, the advantages of Mobile ERP make it a compelling choice for businesses in today's digital and mobile-first world. With the right planning, implementation, and security measures in place, Mobile ERP can significantly enhance business efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness.

Intake-to-Pay in ERP Systems

Intake-to-pay is a streamlined approach that integrates the entire procurement process, from intake (the moment the need for a good or service arises) to payment for goods or services received. This approach encompasses activities such as requisitioning, purchasing, receiving, and paying for goods and services.

In the context of ERP systems, intake-to-pay functionalities ensure an efficient flow of information and financial resources throughout the procurement process. The automation and integration provided by ERP systems ensure a seamless, efficient, and transparent procurement process, contributing to cost savings, improved supplier relationships, and better control over purchasing activities. With solutions like Zip, these processes are not just automated but are also enhanced through intelligent features that facilitate vendor overlap detection and auto-routing of approval workflows.

Benefits of Intake-to-Pay in ERP Systems

There are numerous benefits of using an intake-to-pay approach in ERP systems:

Process Efficiency: By automating the procurement process from start to finish, ERP systems eliminate manual processes and reduce the time and effort required for procurement activities.

Cost Savings: With streamlined and automated procurement processes, businesses can avoid unnecessary purchases, negotiate better prices, and reduce processing costs, leading to significant cost savings.

Improved Compliance: An intake-to-pay approach in ERP systems helps enforce procurement policies and procedures, ensuring compliance with internal rules and external regulations.

Enhanced Visibility: ERP systems provide real-time visibility into the procurement process, from intake to payment. This allows businesses to track spending, monitor supplier performance, and identify opportunities for improvement. With Zip's global payments capabilities, this visibility extends to real-time updates on funding and transaction records in the company’s ERP.

Challenges and Solutions in Implementing Intake-to-Pay

Implementing an intake-to-pay approach in ERP systems can present certain challenges:

Data Migration: As with any system change, transferring existing procurement data to a new ERP system can be complex. It's crucial to ensure the accurate migration of data to avoid future issues.

Change Management: Changing from traditional procurement methods to an intake-to-pay approach can be a significant shift for employees. It's vital to provide adequate training and support during this transition.

System Integration: Integrating the ERP system with other business systems can be a challenging task. However, a well-integrated ERP system will offer even greater benefits, including improved data accuracy and consistency.

Despite these challenges, the advantages of implementing an intake-to-pay approach in ERP systems significantly outweigh the difficulties. With careful planning, clear communication, and ongoing support, businesses can leverage ERP systems to streamline their procurement processes, improve compliance, and achieve significant cost savings.

Procurement Orchestration in ERP Software Systems

Procurement orchestration is an approach that allows organizations to streamline and automate their procurement processes. This approach is often integrated into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, making it a critical part of the overall business operations. The goal of procurement orchestration is to create a more efficient, transparent, and controlled procurement process by aligning various procurement activities such as sourcing, purchasing, payment, and supplier management.

ERP systems play a vital role in enabling procurement orchestration. They integrate various procurement processes, providing a unified platform for data management and decision-making. This, along with solutions like Zip that provide a layer of procurement orchestration and intake-to-procure on top of legacy ERP systems, help organizations gain better control over their procurement operations, reduce costs, improve supplier relationships, and mitigate risks.

Benefits of Procurement Orchestration in ERP Systems

Procurement orchestration in ERP systems can offer a number of benefits:

Process Automation: ERP systems can automate routine procurement tasks such as order creation, invoice processing, and payment execution. This reduces manual work, speeds up processes, and minimizes errors.

Improved Supplier Management: ERP systems provide comprehensive supplier management capabilities, including supplier selection, performance tracking, and risk assessment. This enables organizations to build stronger relationships with their suppliers and make better procurement decisions.

Real-time Visibility: ERP systems offer real-time visibility into procurement operations, allowing organizations to track the status of orders, monitor supplier performance, and identify potential issues early.

Cost Savings: By streamlining and automating procurement processes, ERP systems can help organizations achieve significant cost savings. These savings can come from reduced operational costs, volume discounts from suppliers, and better control over procurement spending.

Challenges and Solutions

While procurement orchestration through ERP systems brings significant benefits, there can be challenges during its implementation:

Integration with Existing Systems: Integrating the ERP system with existing procurement systems and processes can be a complex task. This integration needs to be carefully planned and executed to avoid disruptions to procurement operations.

Change Management: Implementing procurement orchestration in an ERP system often requires significant changes to existing procurement processes. This may require a considerable amount of change management, including employee training and stakeholder buy-in.

Data Migration: Transferring existing procurement data to the new ERP system can be a challenging process. It's important to ensure that data is accurately migrated to avoid any issues in the future.

Despite these challenges, the benefits of procurement orchestration in ERP systems often outweigh the difficulties. With careful planning, robust implementation, and continuous improvement, organizations can leverage ERP systems to achieve efficient, transparent, and controlled procurement operations.

Why Staying On Top of ERP Trends is Critical

In an ever-evolving business landscape, being agile and adaptable is not a luxury, but a necessity for survival. This holds particularly true for procurement teams, as the industry is undergoing a rapid transformation driven by technological advancements.

Over the past few years, the increasing adoption of digital technologies has dramatically shifted the way businesses operate, particularly in procurement and supply chain management. Emerging trends like procurement orchestration, intake-to-procure, and intelligent automation are becoming industry standards, not just optional extras.

Staying on top of these trends is critical for several reasons. Firstly, understanding these trends allows procurement teams to optimize their processes, improving efficiency and effectiveness. This can result in substantial cost savings and enhanced competitive advantage. 

Additionally, these trends often involve the integration of new technologies, which can significantly increase transparency, accuracy, and speed in procurement processes. Companies that fail to adopt these technologies risk falling behind their competitors, leading to lost opportunities and decreased market share.

Lastly, staying abreast of ERP trends enables companies to anticipate future changes in the industry and adapt their strategies accordingly. This proactive approach can lead to increased resilience and sustainability, even in the face of rapid technological change and industry disruption.

However, keeping up with these trends can be challenging given the pace at which technology and the industry are evolving. That's where Zip's Margin Makers newsletter can play a vital role. It's a resource curated with the latest industry trends, insights, and best practices in procurement and ERP systems, delivered right to your inbox.

Don't be left behind as the procurement industry transforms. Stay ahead of the curve by subscribing to the Margin Makers newsletter or booking a demo with Zip. Embrace the future of procurement today, and equip your business with the insights and knowledge needed to thrive in the changing landscape.

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