Mark Liss joined Explorer Software, www.explorer-software.com, North Vancouver, B.C.. in November 2009. In June 2014, Mark was appointed president of the Explorer Software Group.

Trends and Advances in ERP Software

ERP (enterprise resource planning) software has come a long way from its roots in inventory management and balance reconciliation. Today, many of the world’s largest companies depend on ERP to handle their business needs as the scope of their companies increase. Small-and-medium-sized companies have also started to use ERP software more consistently to give them an edge in a competitive marketplace. As the face of competition has evolved, so too has the capabilities of ERP.

Customization has been a key trend for ERP solutions. Being able to create customized reports or set up multiple dashboards to track key performance indicators for different jobs or business areas can impact important decisions. Performing these customization tasks must be an end-user tool and not require technical assistance. Software that isn’t able to allow their users to adapt to the changing needs of the industry will not survive.

Another trend in ERP has been the development of the SaaS (software-as-a-service) model, otherwise known as “on-demand software” or “cloud computing.” SaaS offers users many benefits, such as automatic updates, lower start-up costs, data back-up features, advanced security, and access to the software from anywhere with an Internet connection. Small-and-medium-sized companies that don’t have the capital to invest in IT infrastructure are able to use ERP through SaaS.

As the face of competition has evolved, so too has the capabilities of ERP.

Whether or not companies are using a SaaS model for their software, there has been a trend to make access to ERP software more mobile. With the adoption of smartphones and tablets on the jobsite, more people have access to the Internet from remote locations than ever before. Being able to capture data remotely or submit from any location increases the efficiency of the company.

Of course, with all of the advances in remote access and the rising amount of data being stored in ERP software, increase in security is an important trend for companies to address. All reports indicate that ransomware and cyberattacks will continue to increase throughout the next year and into the foreseeable future. Keeping ERP information secure is extremely important, and using an ERP solution that has made security a priority is paramount for companies that want to maintain and expand their businesses.

The biggest trends in ERP have been focused on using customization to retrieve and analyze data and using the advances in telecommunications to connect any device from any location to the software. Personalized software, streamlining access, increasing mobility, and securing data allows companies to operate efficiently, reducing costs and completing projects on time. Leveraging these advances is the core to any company that wants to stay ahead of the competition.