A Brief History of Smart Enterprise Systems
Over the last 100 years there have been 5 technology trends that have dominated the world. The latest trend is the “Smart Enterprise” wave. If we look at the enterprise space, very little has changed over the last 30 years. Enterprise or business applications have by and large remained the same, dominated by the current incumbents like SAP, Oracle and Microsoft. Whilst consumer applications have soared to new heights continuously spurred on by creative companies like Apple, Google and Facebook.
For many of us who spend our days (and sometime nights) in the office, we’re stuck using systems and applications that sucks all the enjoyment out from our work. I mean, really, why should it still take over a month to approve and reimburse expense claims.
Side note - for those who need convincing that emerging smart enterprise platforms may represent a significant investment opportunity, read this article from Joe Lonsdale - http://joelonsdale.com/news/smart-enterprise-wave/
What does a Smart Enterprise System look like?
In a nutshell (or maybe in this case an onion), there are 3 layers to a Smart Enterprise System. The core enterprise or ERP layer, the integration or "smart" layer and the infrastructure layer.
I like to think of this layer as Rome. All roads (and data) lead to Rome. Every company needs a Rome or core enterprise system (be it ERP, CRM or MRP systems). Now If you think this requires a complete overhaul of your systems then there’s good news. It may not be necessary. If you already have good enterprise systems then great. If not, read this article to give you some guidelines on how to implement an enterprise system and this article on why opensource solutions could be a better alternative for your business. It’s imperative to have your core enterprise systems, processes, rules, controls etc in place beforehand. It will make things much much easier. The age old issue of garbage-in garbage-out is exacerbated when putting smarts on top of rubbish data.
In the previous ERP layer, interfaces are slow, manual and clunky. Users need to navigate through horrible menu options. to do simple tasks. In a smart enterprise system, the integration layer is where all the cool and sexy things happen. Leveraging the latest technology around artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, Internet of Things (IoT), VR/AR etc and integrating this back into the ERP layer is where the next generation smart enterprise systems are heading. This layer will empower knowledge workers to solve real business problems instead of routine business tasks. Critical industry challenges can be resolved with innovative and novel solutions.
Here is an example of a what CLOUDE8 has developed in this layer. Say hello to O'LLA our smart enterprise chatbot.
O'LLA is the new and clever interface for any enterprise system. Imagine working in a company where there is no user training required for their systems. Where your annual leave can be approved in minutes and not weeks. And claiming your expenses is as simple as chatting with friends. The video below gives you a glimpse into the future of smart enterprise systems.
This layer is all about cloud hosting, industry standard security and encryption and mobility. Why? To allow your employees the flexibility to work from anywhere as long as there is a secure internet connection.
Cloud computing means no more expensive servers and hardware clogging up office space or in a cold room. Don't be too worried about security because all the major cloud providers (i.e. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Digital Ocean) spend more money securing their data centres than you can ever spend trying to set up your own firewall and private network. If companies like Uber and AirBnB are running their applications on the cloud, there isn't many reasons why you shouldn't either.
Like the laptop replaced the desktop, smart phones, tablets and wearable devices will very soon replace the laptop. Ensure that whatever enterprise applications you're developing or deploying must be mobile/tablet ready at the minimum. Heck you don't even need to create mobile apps anymore when you can run most applications on the web browsers with very clever UI/UX programming to maximise the limited on-screen real estate. Below is an actual screen grab of a monthly Profit and Loss report from our ERPNext platform.
Don't Just Implement Another ERP System
We are in the age and wave of smart enterprises. Technology is the great equaliser. Don't settle for just another ERP system. Take this opportunity to implement the next generation of enterprise systems in your organisation. Oh and by the way we can help you achieve that. CloudE8 are at the forefront of developing the "smart" in Smart Enterprise Systems and the best part - we love developing this for SMEs.