Technology – enabled trends are making this a challenge and exciting time to shop for distributor ERP (enterprise resource planning) software.
It just so happens that many executives responsible for ERP systems are looking to update or replace their systems in the near future. This is because business is improving in most lines of trade, interest rates are low, and bank financing for capital expenditures is more available. Furthermore, distributors have postponed ERP investments for several years, so there is pent-up demand, and some firms have let themselves fall behind the recent releases of updates for their current ERP software.
More than ever, technology is playing a large role in the decision to upgrade. Consider a couple statistics that show just how much technology has worked its way into business as well as our daily lives, over the last decade:
- At the end of December 2011, Facebook had 845 million monthly active users
- 35 percent of Americans own a Smartphone
- The average American spends 39 hours per month actively at home
Among all of the staggering trends in technology, there are three main developments that have serious implications for wholesale distributors. These are the Cloud, Big Data, and adoption rates.
The cloud has become a huge buzzword in recent years. The dramatic convergence of wireless communications and information processing has made it possible for businesses in the supply chain to avoid running software and storing their own data by accessing computing resources through networks. For economic and compatibility reasons, distributor ERP systems need to keep up with the movement to cloud computing.
Next, it is reported that the mass of data is doubling every 18 months. Capturing and analyzing this big data is a major challenge for distributors and their ERP systems.
Finally, the stunning rapid adoption rate of newer technologies (social networks, mobile computing, etc) by the public is paralleled by business users. Distributors, who are in the middle of the supply chain, need to keep pace with the fastest adopters at three levels: customers, suppliers, and competitors. The judgment of executives is tested by the challenge of finding the right speed to avoid costly disruptions from moving quickly versus the danger of falling behind. A major risk of selecting a new ERP system is betting on the vendor who does not have the foresight and resources to anticipate the future, as well as the flexibility to keep the distributor’s system ahead of the curve.
Understandably, these trends greatly affect the way a distributor does business. That’s why it’s crucial to select a proper ERP system and solution provider, which can help distributors adapt to new technologies of today and tomorrow.