Where ERP Analytics is Heading in 2018

PostedOn: 2018-01-05 11:16:30

Get ready for the data-driven year. 

Analytics capabilities within ERP systems have been building for years, but recent advances in artificial intelligence promise to accelerate the pace. Industry experts are predicting that effective use of analytics will be a key driver of business growth in 2018, and ERP makers are doubling down on ways that business can get more from their data, whether it comes from IoT, Big Data stores or customer interactions. 

With all of the data being generated in the digital business, business throughout the world is capitalizing on the opportunity to analyze and understand that data.

This year, there will be clarity around the areas of improvement in operational efficiency and optimization that will create the greatest blow and competitive gains for the business.

Here’s where ERP analytics is moving. 

  • AI Gets Its Stride 

By 2020, 85 percent of CIOs will be piloting AI programs through a combination of buy, build and outsourcing efforts, according to Gartner research. 

All signs point to 2018 being the breakout year when AI starts delivering significant ROI for businesses, and this will have a profound impact on ERP analytics. 

While businesses have been collecting data for a long time, AI will provide new-found uses of old and new data, especially in ERP. 

By analyzing historical trends and business risk data, for example, ERP tools can advise discount rates on invoices and recommend the best supplier terms. 

This helps investment and procurement professionals optimize cash flow and working capital, as well as build trusted relationships with suppliers to drive better engagement.

  • Improved Automation 

One byproduct of the rise in AI is more ERP mechanization across the board, from automated equipped insight and data collection to actions based on that insight. 

Analytics will become much more present with the rise of AI in the workplace. “AI solutions constantly learn to optimize operational models, which brings efficiency, reduces cost and minimizes human errors.

AI also will automatically generate new data points for manufacturers and those in the field. 

A factory worker can take raw materials stock from the shelf and have the inventory transaction created automatically based on a camera observing the process.

  • Holistic Analytics 

The walls between different business functions are coming down thanks to cloud-based ERP, AI and improved analytics. Instead of analytics drawn from a single part of a business, ERP systems are now bringing together data across the enterprise more effectively. 

The evolution of solving individual, soloed problems based on data is transforming into leaders having more visibility into the holistic context for the impacts of business operations across the enterprise. 

This is creating deeper insights and both more intelligibility and better collaboration across the enterprise. 

  • Better Data Access 

Analytics isn’t just for management, and ERP makers are working on extending appropriate access to more people throughout a business, and in a way that’s easy to use during normal business functions. 

Some of this progress means more data available on tablets, smartphones and specialized digital dashboards, as well as improved user experience. But it also means advances such as voice-activated digital assistants. 

By 2020, 30 percent of web browsing will be done without a screen, according to Gartner. ERP is well aware of this trend. 

The most important thing business leaders are looking for is not just an accurate and overarching view of the company, but the ability for everyone in the company to see the right in rank at the right time and in the right place. That goes beyond traditional dashboards and business intelligence tools to include innovations like devices that provide alerts and pre-emptive information to help individual operators make faster decisions.

Increased IoT Readiness 

IoT is the pathway to data-driven business opportunities for many organizations. There’s plenty of data coming from connected devices that can be analyzed for improved operational visibility, forecasting, and tuning, among other uses. 

In many industries, data will have a huge blind spot if not sourced from IoT. The consistent stream of data from IoT devices is a godsend for ERP analytics.

Yet, many businesses are not taking advantage of their IoT data. A recent study by ERP maker, IFS, found that only 16 percent of businesses consume IoT data in their ERP system. 

Most organization are swimming in data but only use about a third of it.

ERP systems are rolling out the greater native bear for IoT, and working on bringing this data into their analytics systems for easier IoT data adoption. 

  • More Real-Time Analysis 

As part of this push to better support IoT data, ERP systems are beefing up real-time analytics. 

The ability to adapt to constantly changing conditions and making quick decisions based on up-to-date information will be crucial to a company’s success in the future. 

Real-time analytics can detriment all areas of a business. Two that stand out, though, are analytic streams and financials. Analytic streams can take data from a machine sensor, such as air or water temperature or pressure, and provide real-time feedback. Real-time data in financial software, such as during month-end closing, also has wide applicability.