Future-Proofing the Enterprise for Competitive Advantage

Extending and enhancing existing systems using digital technologies

26-Oct-2017

Digital disruption and modern day enterprises: A closer look

As businesses scale their footprint globally, transaction volumes increase substantially, interactions become more varied and unstructured, and data volume and typologies assume massive proportions. The focus of existing systems will therefore need to shift from post facto tracking to real time analytics and future course planning. Unsurprisingly, most companies have outgrown the capabilities of their traditional ERP and CRM systems that fail to keep up with today’s hyper-dynamic business landscape - one driven by mobility, always-on availability, and real time collaboration. Implementing modern ERP solutions, for instance, involves high costs. An average single-site ERP implementation for a mid-sized business costs anywhere between USD 150,000 to USD 1 million, with implementations spanning eight months to over a year.[1]  Clearly organizations will need to find a way to extend the life and value of their IT investments.

Getting more out of ERP and CRM investments with digital technologies

Let’s take look at how digital technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and analytics are poised to significantly impact the following three areas, helping enterprises derive greater value from their existing technology investments:

#1 Workflow and automation: Many existing process workflows were conceived for older business models and are not geared to support the new digital reality. As the physical and cyber worlds increasingly collide, it is critical to tweak process workflows and automation to facilitate a connected real time enterprise. Connected systems and integrated analytics open new windows of visibility into end-to-end enterprise processes. Too often, enterprise information is not connected seamlessly to data warehouses and Big Data initiatives, paralyzing timely analysis and reporting. Using digital technologies, businesses can dynamically connect and measure the impact of various workflows, and find bottlenecks through an enterprise-wide, systematic approach to both workflows as well as automation.

But merely connecting the enterprise and getting the data is not enough. It is important to incorporate advanced analytics, enabling dynamic planning and optimization of processes. For instance, slow down production to reduce in-process inventory in case of an upstream or downstream process failure. Or plan purchasing and production velocities, in real time, based on an analysis of past performance and current market dynamics.  Take the case of Ford. The company built a unified vehicle build and tracking system to connect its plants around the world, enabling them to better manage their production in real time[2].  

#2 Sales and marketing: At a time when outdated data and insights can gravely hurt a company’s bottom line, integrating digital technologies into marketing and sales functions offers organizations a data-driven framework for decision making. Emerging technologies, including AI techniques such as ML and Natural Language Processing (NLP), promise to change the existing business models and enhance the bottom line. How? By helping improve the forecasting accuracy of customer demand which can vary greatly from period to period.

Similarly, combining predictive analytics and modeling with existing ERP and CRM systems facilitates insights from historical and real time data to drive data-based decision making, and fine-tune product forecasting, sales targeting and lead generation. Advanced analytical solutions are also equipped to integrate data from multiple sources such as weather impact, fashion/disease trends, spending patterns, etc. The result: organizations can now accurately predict market behavior, bolster account based strategies, and determine the right marketing and sales mix across industries.

#3 CRM:Today’s digitally savvy customers inhabit multiple channels and switch with ease between them. They demand personalized and contextual services at a time and on a channel convenient to them. Proactively understanding what the customer wants and enhancing customer experience is critical to driving sustained growth and competitive advantage in this environment. To do this, it is necessary to unlock the potential of customer data stored in CRM systems and combine it with business process data stored in ERP systems using digital technologies.

According to Gartner, CRM will be at the heart of digital initiatives for years to come, with mobility, social media technologies, web analytics and e-commerce constituting hot investment areas[3].Chatbots, for instance, are fast becoming integral to delivering superior customer experiences in e-commerce as they enable real time interaction. By answering elementary queries related to order/returns/refund status, in-transit time and so on, they obviate the need to deploy 24x7 human agents. Not just routine queries, intelligent up-sells and cross-sells can also be automated via chatbots. For instance, Amazon’s Alexa can not only access Amazon’s full product portfolio and users’ order history, it can also intelligently make product recommendations and walk users through several options of products they may have never purchased previously.[4]

Making digital disruption work for you

As markets become increasingly defined by globalization and digital adoption, businesses need to evolve in sync with the changing paradigm in terms of their digital capabilities. Given the complexity involved, industry leaders realize that going it alone might not be the best option. Here are some of the ways in which a nimble and agile digital services provider can help organizations leverage existing systems, using an integrated digital platform to drive holistic insights and strategies:

 

    • Customer strategy design: Help companies mine customer data from existing systems to derive meaningful and actionable insights in real time. Deeper customer understanding translates into accurate targeting strategies, better behavior and predictive modeling, and accurate demand forecasting.

 

    • Demand nurturing:Augment demand forecasting, lead capturing, qualification, nurturing and targeting strategies, to ensure higher conversion and ROI by leveraging digital technologies such as predictive analytics, modeling and AI.

 

  • Technology management: Enable businesses to develop a customized technology roadmap that is aligned with the evolving market conditions and the organization’s specific growth objectives for higher ROI.

 

Unlocking the digital value of an enterprise

As digital technology adoption soars, new innovations and services-led business models are rapidly emerging. What enterprises need today is a best-of-breed approach that combines digital technologies and existing systems with business intelligence strategies to tie together disparate sources of data across the organization. Such an approach can help transform existing ERP and CRM systems from traditional back-office software to strategic enablers of competitive advantage - the essence of a digitally connected enterprise.

 

About CausePoint

Digital technologies are disrupting businesses at a blistering pace and the marketplace is witnessing unprecedented levels of volatility and uncertainty. The CausePoint team of experts helps you drive adaptability and agility to effectively respond to the rapidly changing landscape. Our client-centric approach, underpinned by extensive and proven experience in business aligned IT and data strategy and management, helps drive our vision of -'Simplifying Digital Complexity. Powering Transformation'. Our nimble 'Fleet-Footed' approach forms our organizational backbone, helping you ride the digital wave for sustained growth and success. To learn more, please visit us at www.causepointtech.com or email us at info@causepointtech.com.

References

[1]Clients First, How Much Does a ERP Implementation Cost, http://blog.clientsfirst-ax.com/blog-1/how-much-is-erp

[2] The Journey of the Connected Enterprise, https://www.automationworld.com/article/topics/industrial-internet-things/journey-connected-enterprise

[3] Gartner Says CRM Will Be at the Heart of Digital Initiatives for Years to Come,  http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2665215

[4]Chatbots Magazine, 11 Examples of Conversational Commerce, https://chatbotsmagazine.com/11-examples-of-conversational-commerce-57bb8783d332

Tags:
Digital ERP CRM