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ERP trends for 2018

As we move deeper into the new year, new ERP trends for 2018 are emerging. Not just for enterprise-sized businesses anymore, smaller- and medium-sized businesses are utilizing ERPs to streamline their processes and break down the barrier between the business and their customers. The modern business must grow, adapt and evolve while still focusing on the changing needs of their customers and capturing new business potential.

The face of ERP is changing rapidly, and by keeping up with the latest industry trends, you can find ways to maximise your business potential and innovate the way your business is operated.

Have you considered the effect that these ERP trends for 2018 could have on your business?

The Movement towards Personalisation

It’s the age of personalisation and with it comes a whole new set of challenges for businesses. While companies were once able to treat potential customers and even employees as statistics, expectations have now evolved.

One obvious example is the personalisation of marketing, made possible by modern marketing tools. Consumers now see ads directly targeting them based on their search and spending habits. No longer will stock images, generic nurturing campaigns, or impersonal calls-to-action convince customers. In order to succeed, you’ll have to provide high-value and personalised content.

Not only do consumers expect to be fawned over, but they also expect their demands to be catered to. Lower prices, ease of ordering, fast delivery, and free returns are now not the hope but the expectation – meaning your ERP needs to have the capabilities to manage these changes.

Software as a Service (SaaS) Options

SaaS is the innovative cloud-based model that is gaining popularity as an alternative for more businesses to deliver on-demand applications that are typically paid for on a subscription basis. The service provider manages the hardware and software and ensures the availability and security of your data. This means businesses can rent a software solution on a pay-as-you-go basis and connect users with a web browser.

SaaS migrates risk by giving organisations an easy route to generate quick time value and measurable ROI. Companies are applying the SaaS model to just about everything, from core business functions – including IT – to industry-specific processes. SaaS encourages increased communication and collaboration and is able to be up and running quicker because the software is already installed and configured. SaaS cloud-based tools will prove to be more cost effective than the traditional on-premise software counterparts.

Cloud-based SaaS also give SMBs in particular room to grow, especially when compared to traditional software. With traditional software, budgetary restraints and long-term frustrations around complexity and escalating maintenance costs constricted growth. SaaS removes costly maintenance and allows easy implementation with add-ons that can expand an ERP’s capabilities.

eCommerce as a Sales Platform

eCommerce is a trend that all wholesale and distributing companies must embrace. The B2C eCommerce sector is maturing quickly and is focusing on new customer acquisition and improving customer experience. New exponential growth is expected within B2B eCommerce to meet customer needs and demands.

B2B wholesalers, distributors and retailers have a lot to learn from the B2C sector as professionals bring their consumer buying behaviour to work and demand a simpler buying experience and increased personalisation. The growth in eCommerce is an indication of the fundamental change in the behaviour of customers in utilising digital technology while shopping. Businesses ignoring this trend will face a loss of sales and long-term deals.

With the rise in eCommerce, some SMBs are struggling to respond quickly to the changing demand of customers and suppliers. However, there are SaaS eCommerce integrations that support both B2C and B2B businesses that match up to the requirements of pricing rules, multiple warehouses, multi-currency management and bulk orders. Businesses who normally wouldn’t be able to afford eCommerce can utilise these cloud-based SaaS integrations to compete effectively online.

Increased Globalisation of the Supply Chain

The globalised economy has been advanced by trade barrier reductions and decreased transport, communication and coordination costs. As barriers to commerce across borders have diminished, international trade rates have risen – meaning new processes must be in place to effectively manage these changes.

Businesses are facing a rapidly changing and highly competitive environment with an increased emphasis on more complex logistics to ensure the bottom line. Companies are required to be more flexible in dealing with customer requirements, and the requirements for warehousing are likely to increase as lead times for stock become longer and companies strive to meet increased customer demands. Is your ERP ready to face these challenges?

Conclusion

The pressure is on for wholesalers and distributors. Heightened customer expectations, cloud-based tech, B2B eCommerce, and globalised supply chains are all vying for priority in ERP functionalities. While you don’t need to invest in a completely new ERP, updating your ERP with add-ons will increase your capabilities to encompass these trends. Is your ERP ready for the challenges that 2018 will bring?

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