It the end of the year, when experts prognosticate about next year’s Oscar favs and likely trends in all spheres of life. For us, it’s a good time to think about trends in business software. 2019 has been a year of growth and change in business software, with the major ERP vendors and others releasing innovative updates to their solutions. Here are five business software trends we expect to see in 2020.

1) More cloud ERP, and cloud computing in general

Cloud has been gaining over the last decade, especially in the last five years. Heading into 2020, it seems clear that cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) will continue to grow as a share of ERP spending. The reasons for this trend include agility, flexibility and lower capital expenditures (CapEx). In addition, we think there will be an increase in multi-cloud architectures. For example, companies my supplement a cloud-based EPR with storage on Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure (or both). This, in turn, may integrate with cloud offerings like Microsoft Office 365. Disaster recovery and economics could be the drivers of this trend.

2) AI will power more ERP

We foresee a trend toward the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in ERP systems to help with (or actually perform) decision making processes. These will be supported by data analytics capabilities that are increasingly included in ERP solutions—or integrated with them. Examples of this trend include continually self-optimizing operational models and intelligent customer interfaces for configure-to-quote. Data analytics in general will play a bigger role in operations management.

3) ERP systems will get simpler

It’s likely that 2020 will see ERP vendors reducing the number of new features they introduce into their core solutions. Instead, they will focus on making the interface simpler and easier to use. In addition, they will probably start adding more optional modules for specialized functions like Human Capital Management (HCM), CRM and so forth. This way, the core ERP product grows more usable and less complex while the owner’s flexibility to add cloud-based modules increases.

4) Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will increase in sophistication, and adoption

2019 has been a transitional year for RPA, when skeptics became believers and started to use the technology more steadily in actual business workflows, rather than just proofs of concept. RPA makes workers more productive by offloading repetitive, tedious tasks onto software robots. For example, RPA can take over processes like reading and sorting email by subject, routing messages to the correct recipient. This saves someone time and makes the email response faster.

5) Application integration will increase

There’s a growing acknowledgement that no single business software solution can do everything. At the same time, business managers recognize that they can’t “rip and replace” all of their systems. As a result, users will try to integrate more applications with one another in 2020. This will involve use of standards-based Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Security will be part of the story in 2020, for all of these trends. Ransomware and data breaches should be top of mind for all IT stakeholders, not just the security team. We can help you think through the meaning and impact of these trends for your business and software choices in 2020. To learn more, visit our website.

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