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Author's profile photo Christian Horak

ERP re-defined? .. food for thought

Hi Folks

today’s blog is about an idea I have been carrying around for a while. It’s about ERP, the good old workhorse that’s doing much of the heavy lifting “behind the scenes” of the world economy, running trillions of transactions per day, and being generally indispensable for most companies. Today’s lime light, however, is not on ERP. Few outside the software vendor landscape even remember what the acronym stands for. The lime light shines on Big Data, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Cloud, and associated topics like augmented reality, gamefication etc. I think that’s actually a good thing, because, once a technology topic loses its “shiny appeal”, it’s actually moved into full productivity and can silently provide the productivity boost it was intended for.

So, my thought is: Maybe its time to redefine ERP?

Originally, ERP stood for Enterprise Resource Planning. Let’s take a look at what happened here since the 90’s

Enterprise     .. today’s enterprise is much changed from the corporate entities of the 90’s. We have one-employee enterprises that have a global reach, and we have enterprises with virtually 1000’s of affiliates. Employees are usually not only globally distributed more than ever, but also not necessarily tied to a fixed location. So to some extent, we might speak about an extended enterprise.

Resources     .. today’s resources are still the same as in the 90’s (people, cash, ideas, fixed assets, etc.) but the velocity of change has drastically changed, and there is just no such thing as a long term plan any more. One has to be able to sense and respond in real time, and redeploy resource with a level of flexibility and speed that is taxing even the most advanced management techniques. So we could be speaking of real-time resources.

Planning       .. today’s planning activity is still similar to what happened in the 90’s. The change of velocity, the proliferation of all aspects of your business in terms of more data, more locations, more products, more diversity, more complexity and more change forces the planning activity to be much more responsive than ever. This is forcing systems and ERP software in particular, to move from a planning system, into more of a platform, that provides the end to end business processes that the extended enterprise can perform real-time resource and process management on. So we could be speaking of a process platform.

I think you probably see where this is going. Instead of speaking of just enterprise resource planning ERP (still relevant, still essential), we could be speaking of an Extended Enterprise (EE), real-time resource (RR), Process Platform (PP), in other words ERP squared, or simply ERP 2.

I think ERP 2 is what’s happening when you apply all these innovations (Big Data, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Cloud) to 40 years of experience in mission-critical computing and end-to-end processes and build a new ERP. I think that’s what we’re doing, that’s what our customers are expecting and we are delivering on that … although we have not called it that … and we might not use that term at all … it’s just a thought

What you y’all think?

CHHO, Walldorf. Oct 11, 2012

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