Enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology has expanded in leaps and bounds over the last few years. As technology continues to evolve, ERP solutions typically experience the same evolution. If companies hope to remain competitive, they must be at the forefront of these new innovations. Fortunately, there aren't always drastic changes to keep up with, and these ERP trends of 2017 will likely continue to have major effects in the coming years.

1. ERP and Artificial Intelligence Infusion

Tech geniuses are all speaking publicly about artificial intelligence (AI), and that's because it's the next frontier in technology. As it turns out, it's going to have an increasingly involved role in ERP solutions as well. ERP software has never been self-sufficient, but as AI technology continues to evolve, this will certainly change. ERP tasks that once required human input will become automated.

Some companies have already jumped headfirst into the growing AI market when it comes to their ERP solutions. One of the most common uses of AI integrates human-based customer service with quick and efficient answers. Some AI programs have mastered tens of thousands of consumer questions, and when a client inevitably asks one, the AI program provides an immediate answer.

People still want human interaction, though, so companies that currently use this form of AI still typically speak to customers and make the final decision on whether the AI answer is the appropriate one. In the future, though, this may no longer be the case.

2. Continued Growth of Open Source ERP

Anyone who uses trial version software understands that many programs are created with one goal in mind: profit. Over the past few years, though, entire communities of people have come together to push the idea that information and technology shouldn't have a huge price tag.

Even if an open-source ERP solution isn't free, though, it still allows users to make the program do exactly what they want without spending thousands of extra dollars in licensing fees. As open-source continues to gain ground, ERP will follow suit. Some companies with the right staff may even be able to download free software that can be altered to integrate every other part of their company into one solution.

3. Competition Within In-Memory ERP Computing

In-memory computing is one more technology that's quickly gaining ground in the business world. As opposed to having information saved on databases contained on typical disk drives, in-memory computing utilizes random access memory (RAM) to store data. While this may not seem like a huge distinction, traditional disk drives are woefully slow when compared to RAM storage.

This simple fact has led experts to predict in-memory computing will become essential for ERP providers. Companies will differentiate themselves from competitors based on whether they offer in-memory solutions and just how much they invest in the technology. This tech evolution will allow ERP software to more quickly analyze huge amounts of data, detect emerging patterns and operate light years faster than their disk drive counterparts.

These ERP trends for 2017 might as well be labeled as trends for 2018, 2019 and even further into the future. Unlike some movements in the tech field of ERP that simply fizzle out, the aforementioned will certainly play a huge part in enterprise resource planning solutions of the future. In reality, these trends alone could very well be the future of ERP.