With over 1,8-billion internet users worldwide it is no surprise that ERP customers are demanding web-centric applications and user interfaces.

 Emmanuel Obadia, senior vice president, Sage ERP X3 says the internet has forced companies to consider how transaction-based applications can better embrace the internet to meet users needs.
Speaking at a recent Softline Accpac Sage ERP X3 event, Obadia said that there are over 5 million new internet users every week.  He says the significant factor is that they are utilising mobile devices to access the internet.  “It is like there has been a leap from the desktop to the webtop with user-generated content prevailing. This is what Web 2.0 is all about.” Obadia says it is clear that social networking has been one of the driving forces behind the increased rate of internet adoption.
Hot on its heels, and necessarily so, is Enterprise 2.0 where Obadia says Web 2.0 technologies enter the enterprise space.  “This has lead to ERP modernisation where the content has to be user centric and constantly accessible.  It is also where solutions such as cloud computing are a requirement. Cloud computing supports software delivery in a participation age where users want information around the clock and in the palm of their hands.”
In recent IDC and AMR surveys, which rated the benefits of cloud computing, paying for what you use, ease of access and the monthly payment structure dominated.  “According to AMR more than one-third of IT executives in the US, Brazil, Germany and China, typically the most sceptical about software as a service, said they would consider SaaS-based ERP,” explains Obadia.
He says that with 35% of businesses utilising enterprise 2.0 in 2009 significant progress has been made. Motivating this move includes better knowledge retention; improved expertise location; faster information discovery; workplace modernity; higher levels of collaboration; better cross-pollination of ideas; fostering innovation; higher worker productivity and more transparency.
“It is evident that ERP strategies need to evolve to meet the needs of web-savvy users,” says Obadia.  According to Gartner, ERP strategies must be more end-user centric than before to maximise the benefits achieved from investments in ERP. Obadia says Sage has made significant inroads with the launch of its third-generation ERP solution, Sage ERP X3.
From ready-to-use to tailored made to fully integrated ERP solutions, Sage ERP X3 is available in 53 countries, including South Africa.  Jeremy Waterman, managing director, Softline Accpac says Sage ERP X3 has filled a gap in the local market.  “We launched the product 30 months ago and already have over 1000 users.  I am happy with the positioning and success achieved this far.  I think it is a good indication of what is required within the mid-market.”