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Why industry-specific cloud ERP is crucial to business

By Contributor, 01 Sep 2021

Article by Infor ANZ managing director Jarrod Kinchington.
 

Many industry insiders are expressing the need to focus on driving sustainable and profitable growth as the business world continues to evolve to meet new challenges.

Digital investments and partnerships are important to achieving targets, whether upstream or downstream, within a supply chain or enabling partners — such as application and technology providers.

In all of those partnering scenarios, it’s crucial to have a common understanding of desired outcomes to ensure everyone speaks the same language, which helps shorten the time to value. Manufacturing is shifting towards industry-specific applications, and these applications are now nearly always delivered in the cloud to maximise adoption, flexibility, availability, and security. In fact, research shows end-user public cloud spending will grow by 18% through 2021.

A horizontal, one-size-fits-all approach to ERP may still suffice for well-contained, low-risk, low-complexity organisations. However, most companies need to simplify the management of their complex business and are looking to differentiate through the application of technology.

Horizontal applications can manage a particular business function: typically finance and procurement but with everything else just bolted-on. But many organisations realise that industry-specific capabilities and new technology are needed. 

The old ways no longer fit their purposes. Industry-specific cloud ERP offers capabilities that match the way that business should be done. It’s also faster to implement, and business success can be achieved more rapidly.

An industry-centric, single view or digital twin of a business helps identify variations to expected operational performance early, so issues can be managed long before the finance department is aware of them.

The finance role can then focus on strategic operational and financial improvement, fostering a continuous improvement mentality.

Great transformations are unlikely to occur in a single step. A clearly communicated strategy that results in measurable improvements is key to long-term transformation. 

When it comes to triggering organisational change, the business drivers are often a complex mix of customer expectations and demands for a better experience, a focus on operational effectiveness, and the need to meet stricter industry regulations. 

That’s why businesses need to speak the ‘same language’ as their applications software technology vendor. For example, optimising the order to delivery process in an engineer-to-order or configure-to-order environment demands a single view of the product from concept through quote to build, delivery, and then on through life support. Anything less adds risk to the whole process.

Organisations that have traditionally been slow to move still have time to catch up. The challenge is often creating the internal momentum — the first push on the flywheel. In true partnerships, when everyone speaks the same language, multiple stakeholders come together to create a more powerful outcome.

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