30 Under 35 winner Tony King discusses how far ERP software has come, where it is now, and where he sees it going in the future.
By Tony King, Founder & Consultant, Zerion Group
I often struggle when contemplating which topics to write about which I think will be most helpful to you, the reader. My strategy, though, usually comes back to questions I am asked on a regular basis, because I figure if I am hearing these questions routinely from customers, there are likely others who have wondered the same.
At least once monthly, I am asked by someone in the distribution industry what the next ERP software solution will be. I don’t necessarily have a specific answer to this question, but I do have a good guess of where things are headed.
Much like the way the smartphone came along and – virtually overnight – changed the way we used our mobile devices, I suspect a new ERP solution is going to enter the scene and we will all jump ship from our outdated, clunky ERPs and run toward the new, simple-to-use platform. Our current ERP system does not even have an app… and what software platform do you know of in 2019 that does not yet have an app?
Whatever the new platform is, connectivity is going to be a huge selling factor. When systems communicate well with one another, it makes our jobs easier. And when our jobs are easier, we tend to work more effectively. To use my company as an example, at Zerion we are about to be 100% dependent upon Microsoft Teams for all of our work with customers. Tools such as chat, SharePoint, screen-sharing, conference calling, video conferencing, apps, and file-sharing have made Microsoft Teams invaluable to Zerion. Whenever we try a new tool or add-on to the platform, it works seamlessly.
To be fair, the vast majority of ERPs that we have been using first entered the market when the Internet, Google, Apple, and Microsoft were nowhere near the level of acclaim or technological prowess that they are today. In essence, we are using programs that were just not built to integrate with other software or the web.
No matter how unique you think your business processes are, I guarantee you that when a new ERP is rolled out that will work seamlessly with your systems, there will be apps and plug-ins already built to address your nuanced needs. Whatever this new ERP solution is, I honestly believe it will change the way we all do business almost immediately. Someone will try out a new system, discover how well it works and how easily it can be integrated with the add-ons we use to feed important information into our ERP system, and will tell others about how much simpler their processes have become. Then you will hear the swift whooshing sound of every other distributor flocking toward that new solution, and our lives will have been changed forever.
But we are not there yet. So, until that time comes, keep grinding and keep modifying the system you are currently working in, because it is worth it for now. There are no current solutions that would be worth the switch.
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