As the application software industry constantly expands, updates, and evolves, enterprises face an increasingly difficult choice between either renovating their existing solutions, or investing in new, more agile cloud-based software.

The beauty of cloud-based software, amongst other benefits, is in its scalability and its flexibility – it grows as your company does, and can be adapted to fall in line with your business needs as well as with trends in the industry. Paul Hamerman, principal analyst on the Applications Development & Delivery team at Forrester, writes that digital innovation reshapes the future of business applications (available to subscribers). It’s with this in mind that we look at his five key technology pillars to support business growth and why blending them results in the reimagining of ERP: making it self-driving.

1. Cloud & Software as a Service

Cloud-based applications eliminate roadblocks and departmental silos, encouraging 24/7 collaboration. Every day, more and more businesses are making the jump to the cloud, enjoying not only speed of deployment, but also ease of use, and non-disruptive updates.

With a robust, secure, and flexible environment, your business can take full advantage of all the benefits cloud brings, giving you the confidence to deploy your business software, and the independence to keep adjusting your deployment options to absorb and adapt to ongoing business change.

2. User Experience

A slick user interface leads to positive user experience, which encourages a higher level of engagement of customers and employees – and that means your business is truly using your applications’ full features.

According to Hamerman, “employees are key to the system of engagement layer of the business application strategy, which must provide a user experience that enables employees to progress in their careers and interact with the business processes that drive the company success.” An intuitive interface coupled with self-driving ERP to take chargeof mundane tasks means that the user is engaged, but only when needed for exceptions and decisions.

3. Flexibility for change

Regular change is the reality for many businesses, especially people-centric ones. In order to be successful, forward thinking businesses in the service industry need applications that can adapt to new realities without delay, without disruption, and without the dependency on IT experts. The biggest cost for business is ‘cost of latency’ and an application, process, or programme that you as a business owner can implement quickly, with minimal dependency on technology management resources, is set up for speedy adaptation.

A role-focused self-driving ERP solution makes the processes behind changing business requirements – such as growth and expansion, introduction of new business models, regulatory compliance, or merging in acquired companies – more streamlined.

4. Embedded analytics

Analytics is transforming business applications. Far more than just a tool for the management team, they are built into the heart of business applications and instead of analysing historical data, they help make informed business predictions. They are accessible to all users every day and offer real benefit in situations where user interaction is minimised and limited to activities where people make the difference.

Self-driving ERP embeds analytics capabilities in real-time, in the context of the business process, so the system becomes one of insight, not just record. Predict project timelines, costs, and profitability at the point of project creation, and support the project manager in performing complex tasks in minutes instead of hours or days, delivering higher impact for your business.

5. Integration

As you move more and more of your capabilities to the cloud, your business needs simple and flexible connections that keep vital functions moving smoothly. Integration ensures flow and should be a critical concept in business applications to fuel business growth. Self-driving ERP frees the workforce from time consuming tasks, making them available to focus on important and differentiating endeavours.

Self-driving ERP to empower your workforce

People in service-centric industries deserve business software that helps them to work smarter. Self-driving ERP delivered via the cloud reduces complexity and manual tasks to the extent that people can focus better and act faster.

Author’s biog

By Elise Toulman – UKI Campaign and Partner Marketing Manager

Elise joined Unit4 in 2013 managing lead generation and pipeline activity with both the campaign and inside sales teams. With a wealth of leading marketing experience and a passion for all things digital, Elise now works closely with Unit4 partners, delivering joint projects including pipeline generation, digital marketing activities and communication