Ramesh Subramanian, Chief Technology Officer, Infogain
Innovation in Enterprise App Software, be it ERP, CRM, BI, or project and portfolio management was considered to be difficult as these applications are the backbone of any organisation. Enterprises were not keen on accepting complete innovation. Rather, they would stick to some upgraded version of the software. There are multiple reasons – ERP or implementation of any other enterprise software application is a cumbersome and costly process; besides, these are mission-critical applications for any organisation, therefore, any major changes can have a direct impact on the productivity of the organisation.
However with rapid changes in the technological landscape (especially with the advent of the “digital wave”) coupled with global macro economic situation, businesses are left with no choice but to embrace innovation for faster strategic decision making to stay ahead of the competition.
To mitigate risks, many organisations have even opted for two-tier ERP and applications. They have Oracle and SAP as the primary platform for the Corporate’ functions, with smaller, more open architecture for individual business units.
Some latest trends:
Cloud. Cloud has become the default with enterprises as it can reduce the upfront capital expenditure in buying hardware and can make the adoption of enterprise software much faster. With concerns regarding cloud like data security and regulations slowly evaporating, we see more and more enterprises are adopting the cloud. The cloud adoption is easily scalable and the enterprises can opt for on-demand service, pay-as-per-usage and at the same time, have the access to the latest technologies. Besides, companies have to pay only for what they use. With cloud, it would also be easier to integrate enterprise software with other applications, making it much more efficient.
Large enterprises have already set up rigid systems internally, and it may not be possible for them to move to cloud completely. Many of them opt for hybrid cloud, keeping critical core applications on-premise, while the new innovations can move to the cloud. Small enterprises would be the biggest beneficiaries as they can afford latest technologies with minimum hassles.
Mobility. Mobility is now the default mode of operations for much of the software portfolio of the enterprises, and many believe that mobile can be used to view dashboards and key business applications, e.g., field service applications like warehouse stock taking, utilities maintenance, and customer order capture and mobile enablement of enterprise applications. Mobile technology changes fast and it would be difficult to upgrade the enterprise applications frequently; however the evolution of mediating layers of software, emulators and test beds have made such challenges much lighter.
The new generation is more comfortable working on mobile and tablets and looks for intuitive, user-friendly devices with attractive interfaces, and mobile adoption in enterprise apps will continue to see a huge surge in future.
Analytics. Enterprise applications no doubt capture very useful information for an organisation. For a long time, this data deluge was fed into simple BI tools for basic reporting, dash boarding, MIS, without much application of analytical tools. However advanced analytical tools can really help organisations to infer meaningful insights from this data captured over the years. It can provide them sales forecasts, market trends, customer behavior, and the information can be generated on real-time basis for faster decision making. It is now fashionable for enterprises of all shapes and sizes to talk of monetizing’ their data and they are eager to explore additional revenue sources out of such initiatives.
Social. Whether social media will have any impact on enterprise applications is no longer a debated topic. There is much gain to bring in social feedback into the enterprise and that there are critical business applications leading to serious decisions that can benefit from social feedback.
The new generation believes in collaborative work styles. They believe that social media features can help them in collaborating with their managers, subordinates easily without wasting time. In many companies as yet, collaboration is done outside the software application using e-mails and phones; however, with social media tools it can be made more productive and effective.