ERP as a platform – how ERPx transforms ERP into the basis of a whole new way of working. | Unit4
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ERP as a platform – how ERPx transforms ERP into the basis of a whole new way of working.

ERP modernization is a challenge for many organizations. Replacing your current systems can represent an enormous investment of time, money, and personnel hours, and it’s therefore vital to not only choose the right solution – but the right vendor. The implementation process and methodology is just as important as the ongoing operations.

To help you understand how ERP systems have evolved, what you can expect from modern solutions, and how to ensure your own process or modernization goes smoothly, our Chief Product Officer Dmitiri Krakovsky recently joined HFS Research analyst Joel Martin on their podcast to discuss the evolution of business platforms in cloud-native environments and how delivering value from a migration to a modern cloud solution is now a real possibility.

The discussion ranged widely from rethinking how applications are built and used by people to how truly “cloud native” solutions – those designed purposefully for the cloud rather than as “lift-and-shift” ports of on-prem software – are becoming the gold standard for next-generation enterprise tech.

Discussion also touched on how ERPx meets the HFS Triple-A-Trifecta for people centric organizations – turning enterprise resource planning software from a monolithic application into an ecosystem that supports a whole new way of working.

Here’s some of our highlighted issues from the 40-minute discussion:

Rethinking how applications are built – and then consumed by users

There has traditionally been a huge disconnect between the way that applications are designed to be used, and how people want to use them. The typical enterprise software solution has traditionally been built on user personas and use cases – but these have been rigid and slow to react to changing preferences.

In the modern world, where change is accelerating, we must pay close attention not just to whether or not our solutions work, but whether or not users can actually access them in the ways they want to access them.

Dmitri poses an interesting question: why is it that consumer applications are so easy to use? The answer is: they’re designed for a specific purpose. They aren’t trying to do everything, for everyone. Enterprise applications, on the other hand, are usually built to be as general as possible and then customized to be a “kind of” fit for a specific organization’s needs.

To help us create ERPx, we asked ourselves the question: can we create a solution that we can present to any industry or region, and have them feel as though it was built specifically for them? This led to a decomposing of our software into specific services – a basis from which we could then set about rebuilding a platform that can be right for any business.

The differences between designing solutions for product-centric versus people-centric organizations

Unit4’s focus on people-centric business gives us a key insight into the unique interests and needs of these organizations. One of the key differences in designing solutions cited by Dmitri in the discussion is the huge amount of value placed on flexibility in operating environments by people-centric organizations as opposed to the stability valued by product-centric manufacturing organizations. There is a huge demand in the market for iterative changes after a system is implemented.

This difference is driving a large part of the vision for Unit4’s products, and for the future of ERPx. In order to make our solutions truly flexible, we’re designing them around the principle that they should be infinitely reconfigurable. Because people-centric organizations will increasingly rely on the ability to develop new revenue streams, business models, and working approaches to stay competitive, they will require systems that can be re-architected on the fly.

This basic premise for design means moving to a whole new design philosophy that’s centred heavily around user experience – and not just the old story of creating a solid series of databases with a nice-looking front end. Users will need to be able to choose and customise different modules and functionalities on their own, without help from slow moving and costly outside consultants, as they import and create workflows into their new system. Which brings us neatly to -

The microservice model for solution construction, truly “cloud native” solutions, the rise of low and no code automation, and other trending issues

One of the most significant changes to ERP technology in recent years has been the growing trend of cloud migration – both as a cost structure improvement, and as a strategic value play. The first generation of truly cloud native solutions are now becoming available (with ERPx key among them.)

ERP users generally see the emergence of cloud as an opportunity to re-imagine their organizations and the way they work. ERPx is built with this opportunity at its heart – and going forward it will be increasingly tailored to be infinitely customizable. ERPx was built from the beginning on a microservices template – there is no “core” application. Instead, customers can choose from a series of core modules which can be infinitely customized and extended to a given company’s needs. This means nobody is buying capabilities they don’t need, and the solution can grow, change, scale, and de-scale alongside the organization.

The trend towards demand for automation – particularly that which can be handled without any complex software customization – is also facilitated by cloud-native solutions that allow for the deployment of low- and no-code customization. ERPx has been built with this capability in mind to make it easier than ever before for the people in your organization who rely on our tools to make them fit for their individual purposes.