The ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is a misnomer, as it should have been ERM (Enterprise Resource Management). ERPs became prevalent back in the 80’s to operate supply chains and remain the transactional core of most larger companies. However, ERPs are now undergoing deep changes to cope with newer supply chain practices as well as newer IT practices that have emerged during the last two decades.
Lokad and Microsoft are both digital natives and software companies that enable their customers to prosper in an increasingly challenging digital world. Here, we discuss the development of ERPs, from their humble beginnings to the well-known product they are today and we try to understand the potential they have for the future.
In this episode of LokadTV, we are joined by Akshey Gupta, who is responsible for Microsoft Dynamics ERP & supply chain solution sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Akshey has over 20 years of experience in ERP, Big Data and AI solutions that are specialised in planning and optimization. He has helped to develop Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions, looking specifically at ways to integrate the various new technologies available today.
We look more closely at how ERPs came about. In the 80’s, interconnecting products was extremely difficult, so ERPs as an all-in-one solution gave software vendors a huge boost that created many major players in the market. However, nowadays with the Cloud and other resources, interconnectivity is no longer an issue, which has brought a massive wave of change and novelty.
One of the biggest changes to ERPs is that they have become smaller and simpler - more focused. It’s now much more rare that companies purchase “monolith” solutions, instead preferring modular solutions for specific domains, such as customer service, finance, etc. Whilst simplicity is indeed a noble goal, for supply chains this isn’t always the case, in particular due to the sheer amount of data to crunch under the hood of the various ERPs that Lokad encounters.
A major benefit ERPs have brought is the adoption of a common language between businesses and users, which have made multiple business processes that much more efficient. We talk more about the impact of this.
To conclude, we discuss in greater detail the importance of the user interface and how to make this more receptive and intelligent. For example, you can often say that B2C interfaces provide the best user experiences - with social media apps like Instagram or Facebook being on the cutting edge for example. Yet, B2B interfaces often appear to be lagging behind. Why is this and what can be done?
00:37 Akshey, perhaps you could start by telling us a little more about your background and your role at Microsoft?
01:41 Could you give us an overview of the history of ERPs?
04:18 What’s your take on the current state of the ERP market?
06:52 How well are ERP solutions performing from your perspective?
08:44 ERPs have to provide a whole range of tools. What sort of challenges does this introduce?
11:27 Would you agree with that? Is that the best way to introduce a bit of simplification?
12:57 What is the vision at Microsoft over the next decade concerning the idea of a common data model?
15:50 Talking about AI, which are the trends you see staying put over the next decade or so?
19:26 Why do you think the user experience has been left behind when we compare B2B technology to B2C applications?
23:02 We see a lot of customers getting tied up in buzzwords. Would you say that one of the challenges for the future is giving them the opportunity to understand the actual mathematical optimizations that are happening in the background?
26:34 Would you say that, with the advances we are seeing in technology, people are ready to embrace change and that digital transformation is happening quickly right now?