Digital Disruption in ERP – Time to think beyond graphic user interface

Ever since the likes of Uber became largest taxi operator without even owning a single taxi or AirBnB became largest hotel room space seller without owning a single hotel, the power of digitalization has become too evident to all.  These organizations (and there are much more like them such as Alibaba, Ola etc.) have utilized technology to their advantage and have disrupted the business models completely. The examples of digital disruptions in all business categories are only increasing and core IT applications like ERP or Supply Chain Management are going to get impacted very soon. Infact, one of the long pending demands from ERP users (all of them whether it is SAP, Oracle, Microsoft or others) is that the user interface is too complex and non-friendly and users need to remember lot of things, navigation etc. for their daily operations. This makes them take longer time to complete their work, is not fun to work in ERP and with new users coming in – there is a learning curve for them. There has been decent number of attempts by large ERP players to make the user interface more friendly but have met with little success. SAP has even tried to sell different UIs to user organizations but success has still eluded them.

Salesforce, Netsuite, Workday, Ramco etc. led the first wave of digital disruption in ERP space by introducing niche products but now is the time to think beyond that. With the advent of Google Play, Cortana and Siri, a new door is now open for the ERP players to try and integrate their products with either these or develop their own voice controlled user interface and do away with graphic user interface slowly. The users should be able to command an ERP on the transactions just by speaking to them either standing/sitting in front of their desktops/laptops or their mobile devices while traveling. The production users will get the ability to talk to ERP and take the production of items to next stage while making the transactions talking to their watch which will be integrated with ERP. Similarly, the sales team can book the orders while talking to customers onsite and ordering their mobile device or the watch to prepare an order in ERP and provide the available to promise” date to the customer right away. This way, the complaint of users that they have to run business operations as well as run ERP as two separate tasks and takes time, will fade away as they will be able to conduct normal business as well as run ERP, almost with single activity and there will be huge reduction in post business regularization of transactions in the applications. The application data will start matching with actual data (like inventory at all stages) as ERPs will help the users more in their business in real time. With all ERP products now available in Cloud models, integration with mobile devices like phones, watches have already become easier due to availability of internet connectivity almost everywhere, this idea may carry the ERP products through the next wave of innovation where they disrupt their business models themselves before somebody else comes with this digital disruption and these giants have to fight for their survival.

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