If you’re reading ERP Today, you know that ERP was critical yesterday and it will remain so tomorrow. In fact, with the volatility of economies, consumer behavior, shifting markets, politics, access to raw materials, shipping and more, the ability to trust timely data and get it into the right hands has never been more crucial. From the CFO on down, one needs to know what’s going on, what’s going wrong, and share that information within the organization’s network. But the value delivered by ERP systems has too often been available only to large organizations, or they required changing applications once a certain company size threshold was attained.
My corner bakery doesn’t require an extensive, multi-pronged system to manage its sales, deliveries, and inventory. It was big companies in industrial sectors who were early to install these heavy IT systems. But what about companies in that sweet spot between small business and large enterprise? Those growing companies that span industries from tech to consumer products to professional services? This market includes over 200,000 businesses in the US, that deliver some of the most innovative and exciting products and services on the market today. Every large company was at one point a mid-market company. But those organizations have traditionally been so focused on sustaining growth – and turning a profit – that successfully implementing an ERP system that underpinned its core processes and grew along with the needs – took a back seat. The standard options were often too complex, expensive or time-consuming to even consider.
The time has come for democratized access to ERP.
It’s a double whammy, because in addition to lacking the time and being extra averse to disruption, these future leaders often have limited IT resources. Yet they still need the technology benefits that make them smarter about game-changing topline and bottom-line issues and opportunities.
I’m based in New York, and I talk to customers and partners around the country every day. Of course, SAP is working hard to move traditional ERP customers to the cloud because of the added benefits, from security to agility to the network affect to data access across systems. But mid-sized businesses also want reliable cloud ERP that’ll grow with them and not disrupt their ability to scale. The cloud is revolutionizing ERP. No longer does an organization have to spend years implementing an on-premise system with myriad customizations. A new era of ERP, with the decades of learning and industry best practices baked in, combined with the agility, quick time-to-market and community of user experience, is upon us – where companies on the cusp of major growth can gain simplicity, predictability and speed within a proven, cost-effective and scalable platform. SAP GROW is our commitment to that – with the offering that fits this market segment – complete with solutions, adoption and acceleration services, learning and community.
I recently met with a mid-market customer in the Midwest, a leading designer and supplier of bathroom products and furniture. The competition in that space is incredibly fierce, but so is the demand for their products. In the face of this rapid growth, they implemented a cloud-based ERP from SAP. They are effusive about the results: a centralized system for everything from product data and prices, to naming, and they are managing customer requests on time with the complete view of their stock, warehouse capacities, and delivery status updates.
As the old saying goes, if the CFO is happy, everybody is happy. The time has come for democratized access to ERP. The agility of the cloud and introduction of new low-code and no-code technologies that help non-developers customize applications to fit their needs without a long or expensive consulting engagement, is making ERP flexible, which used to be an oxymoron.
The ERP of today – and tomorrow – will bring scale and growth for mid-market organizations with offerings designed for the price, agility and quick return on investment they need, enabling success in ways once thought impossible. And as for my corner bakery, it’s a comfort to know they can focus on bringing cookies to the next corner neighborhood, not the ERP.