The Future of ERP: Exploring What’s Next for Enterprise Resource Planning Tech

We live in a world where technology continues to evolve at breakneck speeds, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) innovations are no exception. Staying ahead of the curve is vital, so as we look to the future of ERP, it’s crucial to understand how emerging trends will impact your core processes and business functions. 

Why the Future of ERP Matters to Your Organization

If you are satisfied with the overall performance of your ERP and its ability to handle core business processes, you may be wondering why you should care about the future of ERP in the first place, but there are certainly some significant reasons.

For starters, you can bet that at least a few of your competitors are pursuing digital transformations through cutting-edge cloud ERP platforms; that alone is enough reason to keep an eye on future trends. But more importantly, cloud-based ERP systems are the backbone of modern business processes. 

The top solutions integrate various functions, like supply chain, inventory, and customer relationship management (CRM), into a single, cohesive experience. Once you consolidate these functions, you’ll have access to real-time data about business units, inventory, and so much more. 

What the Next Generation of ERP Means for Customers and Employees

Over the years, ERP has, at its core, been all about maximizing business efficiency and consolidating core systems. While those goals remain integral components of leading ERP solutions, modern approaches place greater emphasis on customer and employee experiences. 

From the employee’s perspective, a new ERP system means access to robust tools like mobile scanners, machine learning (ML) software, and artificial intelligence (AI), resources that will make their jobs much easier while enabling them to be far more efficient.

Customers benefit, too, largely thanks to the powerful business intelligence technology included in modern ERP solutions. You can gather an abundance of customer data, consolidate it, and then analyze it to create frictionless experiences for your target audience. 

Future ERP Trends to Watch

When analyzing ERP trends, it’s important to sift through passing fads and focus on developments with staying power. A new tool or fringe ERP add-on module might sound intriguing at the moment, but it likely won’t be relevant a year or so from now. 

Instead, you need to direct your energy and resources on the trends that have the potential to impact your business. But cutting through the noise can, admittedly, be tough. 

With that in mind, we’ve done the legwork for you, spotlighting four particular ERP trends you need to monitor.

1. Businesses Are Moving to the Cloud in Droves 

The shift to cloud-based ERP systems is clearly accelerating, driven by the need for greater agility, flexibility, and cost savings. It’s a trend not solely limited to large corporations; small and medium-sized businesses are also embracing cloud ERP technology to stay competitive.

If you already operate an on-premise or hybrid ERP platform, you don’t necessarily need to leap to the cloud. But if your current ERP solution is reaching the end of its viable life and is due for an upgrade, moving to the cloud just makes sense. 

Cloud-based solutions provide scalability and cost savings that you can’t achieve with an on-premise approach. And on top of those, managing cloud solutions is far easier. 

2. The Widespread Adoption of AI Technology 

The integration of AI into ERP systems will lead to smarter and more efficient business operations, given that its various capabilities, such as predictive analytics and machine learning, provide deeper insights, automate routine tasks, and enhance decision-making processes.

With that said, the use of AI is no longer optional. If you don’t integrate it into your workflows, you’ll be putting yourself at a clear disadvantage. More importantly, though, the customer experience will suffer, as you won’t be able to provide the same level of service and responsiveness as brands that have already embraced the technology.

3. A Prioritization of IoT Integrations

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the ever-growing ecosystem of internet-connected devices, like handheld scanners, tablets, and sensors. Adopting an ERP solution that supports IoT integrations will help you gather granular data about your operations, identify potential bottlenecks, and maximize efficiency.

IoT sensors in a manufacturing plant, for instance, could provide real-time data on equipment performance, which you can then leverage to optimize maintenance schedules and reduce downtime. 

4. Two-Tier ERP Strategies

Two-tier ERP strategies are becoming more common among major enterprises with multiple subsidiaries. Under such a strategy, parent organizations will deploy a tier-one system within the core business and then implement cheaper tier-two solutions across their subsidiaries. 

Tier-one ERP systems, like Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft Dynamics, are highly complex in their configurations, but they can provide exceptional value. Conversely, tier-two ERPs are more cost-effective and easier to implement due to their more focused set of features.

The goal of a tiered approach is to reduce costs and promote scalability. Given that the parent company can easily implement the less complex ERP solution(s) across its subsidiaries, it can achieve uniformity in the way it collects data and manages business processes. Meanwhile, the tier one ERP offers the robust features that the company needs to manage its data and that of its subsidiaries. 

Benefits of Moving to the Cloud

Of the trends outlined above, the widespread move to the cloud is the most impactful. 

The future of ERP exists on the cloud; moreover, cloud-based ERP solutions are either already equipped with ML and AI capabilities or have the capacity to be upgraded in the future. Therefore, a move to the cloud will help you embrace the future of ERP and ensure your company has the opportunity to adopt emerging tools as they become viable. 

Some other notable benefits of moving to the cloud include the following:

Flexibility and Scalability

A cloud-based ERP solution provides the flexibility to scale up or down depending on business needs, making it ideal for growing companies. You don’t know what your company’s needs will look like a year from now, much less three or even five. But by adopting a cloud-based ERP approach, you can find peace of mind knowing you have the flexibility to adapt to whatever comes your way. 


With cloud-based ERP, you typically pay for what you use, which can be more cost-effective than traditional on-premise solutions, which typically charge by the module, user, and data consumption. You can enjoy predictable costs spread into manageable monthly subscription fees instead of one large upfront investment. 

Enhanced Collaborations

Cloud ERPs also allow you and your team to collaborate like never before. Employees can access the system from anywhere, thereby improving efficiency and productivity. The remote accessibility of modern ERP solutions is especially appealing to companies with at-home or hybrid workforces. 

Real-Time Data and Analytics

You can obtain granular, real-time data about specific processes to gain insight and a glimpse of the bigger picture, ensuring your business is heading in the right direction. You can also streamline your decision-making processes and track your decisions’ impacts on your company’s overall trajectory. 

Challenges of a Cloud Migration

Before you can embrace the future of ERP, you’ll need to undertake a successful migration. But doing so can be a daunting process, especially if you don’t have a cohesive plan in place. 

Before you start searching for a cloud solution or planning your implementation, there is one more thing you need to do first, and that’s familiarize yourself with the challenges that lie ahead. 

Being Mindful of Data Security and Privacy Concerns

Any time you start moving sensitive data around, security and privacy concerns emerge. Ensure you’ve given ample thought to your security needs and chosen a secure cloud environment for your business data. Be proactive, implement monitoring and multiple layers of protection, and conduct a comprehensive audit to assess any potential risks. 

Outlining Potential Integration Issues

Ensuring seamless integration with existing systems and processes can be complex, but choosing a solution with out-of-the-box integrations can help ease that headache. 

Still, you must ensure every integration is deployed appropriately before migrating. Test and retest your integrations so you can identify any potential issues. 

Committing to Effective Change Management 

Change is hard on everyone, especially your employees and customers. Keep your team in the loop from day one by outlining your plans. If possible, involve a few key mid-level managers in the search for your new ERP solution, as they can provide insights from the perspective of their teams. The goal is to maximize employee buy-in and make everyone feel heard. 

Setting the Stage for a Seamless Transition

To overcome the challenges and ensure a smooth transition to a cloud-based ERP solution, consider the following efforts:

  • Thorough planning: Conduct a comprehensive analysis of your processes and how they will align with the new system
  • Choosing the right partner: Partner with a cloud ERP provider that offers robust support 
  • Employee training: Invest in training your employees to adapt to the new system 
  • Data security measures: Implement robust security protocols to safeguard your data in the cloud

The above is by no means a comprehensive list, and you must be mindful of your organization’s unique needs. For instance, if you already have a legacy ERP system in place, you’ll need to conduct extensive data cleaning to eliminate any duplicate, inaccurate, or incomplete records. 

Ready to Embrace the Future of ERP? 

To learn more about the ever-evolving nature of ERP, check out this short eBook on Composable ERP and how it could be the key to unlocking your business’s full potential.