Business management solution providers are under enormous pressure to reinvent their platforms as the upsurge of social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) technologies threatens to make traditional enterprise resource planning (ERP) software irrelevant.
That’s the word from Keith Fenner, vice-president of Sage X3 International, who says that SMAC, otherwise known as the third-platform, demands that organisations put in place simpler, more agile, and modular software platforms to support their growth. “IT departments are trying to create more relevant and personalised customer and employee experiences across social and mobile platforms.
“According to a 2015 survey conducted by EY, 64% have stated that their IT spend will increase as compared to the previous year. That means that companies need to offer enticing collaborative interfaces that are accessible anywhere – in other words, which are social and mobile. They also need to use big data analytics to deliver relevant experiences and drive better business decisions. What’s more, they must be able to access robust, powerful computing infrastructure at an affordable cost through the cloud.”
Enterprise software needs to be ready for a workforce reared on mobile apps and social media platforms. Today’s employee wants business software to be easy to use, accessible everywhere, and built for collaboration, says Fenner. As a result, business software interfaces must be as attractive and intuitive as those of social media apps; they must also support easy and instant collaboration with tools like Chat. “The focus needs to be on the user experience,” adds Fenner. “Digital natives won’t accept the older outdated interfaces of traditional ERP software.”
By the end of 2016, there will be around 10-billion mobile devices in the world. Smart devices and wearable computers are joining PCs and mobile devices in the connected workplace. “Enterprises need to master delivering information, services and apps to employees, customers, and other stakeholders wherever they are,” says Fenner. “From employee and customer self-service to mobile business intelligence, people demand that they should be able to get things done and access data wherever they have an Internet connection.”
With billions upon billions of devices and users on the Internet, enterprises have access to more data than ever before to drive better decision-making. They can use this data to understand consumer behaviour, perform financial investigations, carry out predictive maintenance or drive sales optimisation.
“Advanced analytics is a vital competitive edge in the SMAC era,” says Fenner. “Companies that are able to manage and analyse unprecedented volumes of data coming into their business at high speeds will be able to outpace the competition by making smarter decisions faster.”
The cloud is becoming a reality in Africa, especially using Cloud to access the latest technology without making huge infrastructure investments, purchasing expensive software licences, or managing complex implementation cycles in-house. With software delivered as a low OPEX (Operating expense) rather than CAPEX (Capital expenditure), the cloud drives innovation in businesses, delivers scalability for growth, and lowers the barriers to access modern business solutions.
Says Fenner: “Success will be realised by those organisations that don’t just react to SMAC, but migrate quickly to it. SMAC will be the foundation of all successful business applications for tomorrow’s enterprise, but a solid technology platform is essential to exploiting its potential. The solution must be a stable, single architecture solution designed for the cloud, mobility and big data.
“For example, Sage X3 is designed to deliver faster, simpler and flexible business management solutions, without the complexity that typically comes with old-fashioned ERP systems. In a time of seismic technological change and digital invention, our smart people use the smartest technology to reinvent and simplify business processes. We enable our customers to focus on their business and help them to leapfrog to the future.”