As the economic consequences of COVID-19 are becoming more apparent, some businesses doing everything they can to cut costs. Many are losing staff, closing sites and reducing investment.
This may lead you to ask, should your business invest in ERP technology during a time of crisis?
However, there is a second way of navigating the current outbreak. This consists of investing in the future to come out of the situation stronger and more flexible than ever.
Of course, not all companies have this option. For some, the effects of the outbreak have been so profound that they’ve had to drastically cut costs. For those that have come out of the pandemic relatively unscathed, however, investment seems to be the best bet.
Big Data and ERP
The 2020 Global Growth Index details the direction of growth for companies around the globe. It highlights the many ways that industry leaders are looking to harness technology to drive growth.
In particular, the report is interested in the ever-changing nature of manufacturing and distribution businesses, It is also related to retail and e-commerce.
Most of all, it looks at how global trends are currently affecting the bottom line. This may help you answer the question, should your business invest in ERP technology right now?
The report found that big data in particular is assisting growth in a number of ways. 43% of businesses are using big data to optimize operations, 44% are using it to increase sales and 45% are improving business profitability. Another positive finding was that 81% of businesses reported that big data was able to drive business growth in two years or less.
ERP Technology and Global Volatility
These results show that businesses see potential in using technology to offset the impacts of global volatility. The best example of this is the impact of coronavirus on global supply chains. But it is also apparent in the instability caused by competition between the USA and China. Another significant threat has been the Brexit vote.
With the market being so unpredictable, businesses feel a need to enhance resilience, even when there is less money to spend. 41% of businesses were prioritizing better technology, 38.9% were prioritizing improved planning capabilities and 40.9% were looking to work more efficiently.
AI and Big Data
Another trend has been the ability of AI to drive growth and justify investment. Over 80% of participants in the Global Growth Index survey said AI delivered value to the business in two years or less. 85% of respondents said AI was responsible for driving growth overall. A further 37.9% said it had helped to improve competition with rival businesses.
Big data analytics is driving growth and proving worth the investment for most organizations. This is principally through optimizing operations (42.7%), increasing sales (44%) and improving profitability (45.3%).
Unsurprisingly, cloud is poised to be a priority. This is backed up by 1 in 4 participants stating it was a priority for investment in 2020. It was also selected as the second most likely to have the biggest positive effect on business in the next 18 months.
Epicor Chief Executive Officer Steve Murphy was asked about the report. He said, “it’s no secret that recent global events have disrupted the normal order of operations and further spurred businesses’ adoption of technology investment. This will continue to be vital if leaders wish to successfully maintain business resiliency, adapt to geopolitical volatility, and stay flexible around market changes.”
Global Technology Trends
Respondents were also asked to predict patterns of future growth and key tends in a number of countries. These results may help to answer should your business invest in ERP technology.
In the US, the key predicted technology trends over the next 18 months were as follows: 5G (38.5%), cloud (40%), AI/ML (32%). All of these were predicted to have the biggest positive impact on future growth.
For the UK, participants felt that technology had been the most significant player in driving growth over the last 18 months (40%). This was closely followed by staff skills and experience (31.5%).
Global supply chains were front and centre for Asian companies. Increasing global competition (55%), tax implications (51%) and regulation changes (50%) were said to have had the biggest effects on growth over the last 18 months.
Overall the results suggest technology, including ERP, is has been key to business growth over the last 18 months. This is only anticipated to grow in the coming years. Therefore, more companies than ever are jostling to position themselves as leaders in technology adoption.
Want to learn more about what Epicor ERP can do for your business? Talk to an expert here.