Cloud is dictating how organisations are built and changing enterprise computing and software development forever. We are all looking to improve our interaction with enterprise applications; cloud holds the key and is being seen increasingly as a key component of corporate IT strategies.

1. The rise of new service-led business models and innovation

With more organisations adopting cloud computing, the focus on services is shifting from front-office applications such as customer relationship management and other customer service mechanisms to the back office. At the same traditional back office applications like ERP have potential for the first time to deliver valuable end user experiences.

By 2016 investment in traditional ERP systems will decline over 30 percent to less than $15B. Click to Tweet

A 2014 report by PwC predicted that by 2016, investment in SaaS solutions would more than double to $78B. This surge compares with investment in traditional ERP systems which will decline over 30 percent to less than $15B. PwC researchers argue that “monolithic legacy, on-premises ERP systems have often been designed to match a predictable drumbeat of production. However, that’s not going to work today. Customers are redefining the way business is done and non-standard is quickly becoming the new normal.” PwC’s analysis also shows that ongoing costs for hybrid ERP systems can often be higher than traditional ERP systems. For enterprises to get the most value from hybrid ERP, they should make them catalysts of strategic change, not just rely on them for cost reduction, says the study.

monolithic legacy, on-premises ERP systems have often been designed to match a predictable drumbeat of production. However, that’s not going to work today.

The rise of new services organisations is a result of these new business models and the benefits afforded by cloud-based ERP. In many cases they are true examples of innovation born out of the possibilities created by new digital technologies. Companies like Uber, Netflix, Amazon and Airbnb epitomise the digital economy having succeeded in delivering digital, service-led business model innovations.

2. The era of self-driving business apps

The cloud enables companies to deliver self-driving business applications, tied to machine-learning, predictive analytics and in-memory technology. For example, modern cloud platforms like Microsoft’s Azure offer predictive analytics services such as Machine Learning, Power BI and Stream Analytics that redefine business intelligence. Organisations can make smarter decisions, improve customer service and uncover new business possibilities from their structured, unstructured and streaming Internet-of-Things data. With ERP systems providing the IT engine for enterprise, this capability will enable them to revamp ERP in a dramatic way, designed for people and not products. For example Public sector organisations will improve fraud detection on bill payments with advanced pattern recognition and machine learning, while not-for-profits have the ability to match campaigns to donation patterns and target donors more effectively.

We accept that cars will drive themselves in the near future; software is taking over the driving functions by… Click to Tweet

We accept that cars will drive themselves in the near future; software is taking over the driving functions by collecting data from a number of sources and smartly interpreting it to deliver a seamless user experience. The ultimate in customer service will be when your car simply takes you where you want to go in the most efficient way. It will gather data from sources like external sensors, satellite navigation, knowledge of road layouts, speed limits and even congestion, road works and accidents (which will become infrequent incidentally), almost as they happen. This type of automated capability can also be applied to applications, and we’re now entering a new era in enterprise computing with the emergence of “self-driving” applications such as ERP.

Analytics is the core to fully automating any process

New predictive technologies provide huge opportunity for assisting users and eliminating manual data entry. Analytics is the core to fully automating any process and analysing data is the core of understanding the surroundings, identifying patterns, predicting behaviour and identifying exceptions, as well as screening to make data personal and relevant. This is making the most of the power of machines. Users should be involved only when really needed, that is, when common sense is required. When users interact, business systems must deliver a great experience, similar to the best experiences we have from our favourite personal applications, from any device.

This is no small development. A truly self-driving application, made possible in great part by the latest advanced analytics technology, can lead to huge productivity gains for organisations, as well as significant improvements in customer service and engagement.

3. Business computing adds value

Typically, traditional ERP platforms provide non-intuitive blank forms for users to complete with the necessary data, which is error prone, time consuming and costly.

Conversely, self-driving applications leverage the latest in predictive analytics, social media, mobile devices and machine learning tools to provide context to the information. This allows for more intuitive data entry based on pre-populated forms. As a result, companies can provide not only a better experience for workers regardless of the type of device they’re using but also significantly improved decision making, planning, budgeting and forecasting while also ensuring that customer service standards and the business, financial and operational objectives to be met more accurately and reliably.

Self-driving ERP is the next great technology step for the enterprise

Self-driving ERP is the next great technology step for the enterprise Click to Tweet

The combination of cloud and self-driving ERP provide the route to success and a huge competitive differentiator for services organisations across both public and commercial sector organisations; improving the depth, accuracy and flow of critical data to both internal and external stakeholders while enhancing user and customer experience. Essentially putting the needs of people first.