In a post-Covid-19, it will be much more about automation than functional standardization. While enterprise applications vendors (like SAP) and ERP vendor enablers (like UiPath) are investing heavily in automation, the most automated companies will move past their enterprise applications to functionality that’s increasingly automated outside of older application architectures. Why is this important? For one thing, post-Covid-19 companies will focus much more on the processes that can be automated than ones than can be “tracked” and “managed.” Ideally, much of what enterprise applications “users” do will be replaced by RPA and other intelligent bots. The obsession with “UI” and “UX” (user interfaces and user experiences), for example, will eventually vanish altogether.
How many companies will deploy new (or migrate from existing) ERP systems over the next ten years? Not as many as did ten years ago, that’s for sure. Instead, they will:
- Identify and model business problems
- Map and optimize business processes (via process mining) that identify process optimization opportunities
- Identify, collect, validate and leverage structured and unstructured data onto target business processes
- Match problems, processes, data and machine learning algorithms
- Extend the approach to as many processes as possible
These activities are all focused on automation. Said differently, they’re focused on automating — and replacing — ERP modules and the processes like “customer management, human resources, business intelligence, financial management, inventory and supply chain capabilities.” In fact, much of the internal and external business cycle can be automated. But automation extends beyond tactical goals. What are the best profitability strategies? What new markets make the most sense? How should we innovate? When we increase the range of algorithmic applications across supervised to unsupervised machine learning, we can move from tactical to strategic automation.