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Business Resiliency Enabled by an Intelligent Enterprise
The digital world arrived years ago, but the shift to it accelerated during the global pandemic out the need for survival. All of us became hugely dependent upon technology for information, shopping, work, entertainment, and as the alarm clock for all of life. For businesses, this was a time to embrace digital tools, accelerate change, and become more automated, data driven, tightly integrated, and cohesive with trading partners, employees, and other critical networks. In many ways, the pandemic became the tipping point for organizations to move beyond legacy technologies to more modern, innovative, and intelligent cloud-based technologies.
As organizations worked through business continuity issues and the economic slowdown triggered by the pandemic, our IDC: COVID-19 Impact on IT Spending Survey, June 2020, found that 70% of organizations surveyed did not have a firm long-term digital transformation strategy. This lack of a strategy meant these organizations were tied up with decisions to quickly shore up the business, including managing resources, operating expenses, and cash flow. They were looking to compete in new ways, gain closer relationships with customers, and ensure a differentiated position for their company. To support these changes from an IT perspective, they were opting for short-term quick wins such as moving their legacy applications to the cloud, reducing IT overhead but achieving very little digital innovation. Unfortunately, these organizations missed an opportunity to adapt their operating model to a digital transformation strategy reaching beyond their short-term needs. However, many are now considering longer term strategies that will produce a more intelligent, technology-enabled enterprise.
Intelligent, modern cloud-based technologies have brought forward the opportunity for businesses to do more with less while managing vulnerabilities, being more agile and predictive, and meeting employees wherever they work. In fact, IDC’s research finds that by 2023, driven by the need to become resilient, 65% of organizations will invest in highly configurable ERP applications infused with artificial intelligence (AI) to achieve greater autonomy in business operations.
IDC calls these technologies intelligent applications, a category that also includes intelligent ERP. Intelligent ERP automates tasks using algorithms, data sets, analytics, cognitive, and an assistive user interface across people, process, and technology to forecast, track, learn, route, manage, analyze, predict, and report. This automation allows for better insights and actionable decision making that results in improved business performance. Intelligent ERP relies on innovative technologies such as AI, machine learning, robotic process automation, the Internet of Things (IoT), block chain, predictive analytics, conversational AI, and many others.
Intelligent ERP systems help an organization take advantage of the technology so that it can:
- Manage massive data sets by using these systems to tie the data sets to analytics, turning the data into actionable insights in real time. This ability requires an embedded machine learning and a simplified data structure at the foundation.
- Automate processes with robotic process automation to avoid repetitive tasks and increase optimized operations across the company.
- Connect across customers, suppliers, employees, and business networks for seamless operations beyond the four walls of the company.
- Increase agility by uncovering insights and enabling employees to utilize intelligent decision making
- Become compliant by segregating the duties in accounting, material management, and in supply chain track and trace. Compliance and tracking are key to increasing value, managing risk, and measuring sustainability.
- Allow business functions to access needed information to make the right decisions immediately, while also enabling industry extensions at the edge with innovative technology like IoT.
- Leverage cloud technology to enable employees to work anywhere, anytime.
- Collaborate and extend its reach into the global network of suppliers, contingent labor, and supply chains.
- Enable innovation by using intelligence to sense and respond fast, quickly harnessing information and making better and more informed decisions.
- Scale as needed since intelligent ERP systems run in the cloud, enabling the system to grow and contract based on the business requirements.
- Learn continuously, monitor business performance metrics, and adjust based on internal performance and that of peer organizations, better targeting the changes that make a business healthy and sustainable.
For many organizations there may be areas where a highly targeted solution fix can yield significant business benefits, such as introducing a new warehouse management system. For that reason, there needs to be modularity to solutions to ensure that high-impact, short-term solutions can be implemented with a long-term strategy that works within an organizational transformation architecture
Each of the intelligent ERP capabilities described above, enables the business to be more resilient, leading to digital resilience.
Digital resiliency means the organization can rapidly adapt to business disruptions by utilizing digital capabilities like intelligence, machine learning, cloud, and others to restore business operations and capitalize on the changed conditions. But to be digitally resilient, an organization needs to become intelligent, capitalizing upon modern, innovative cloud-based technologies, like intelligent ERP. In today’s rapidly changing world, the time is now to leverage intelligent technologies to create an intelligent enterprise.
Please learn more from the IDC Market spotlight paper.
Mickey North Rizza is program vice president for IDC’s Enterprise Applications & Strategies, Financial Applications, EAM and Smart Facilities and Digital Commerce research practices.