In my previous blog, I invited you to share your priorities and point of view on intelligent ERP in the cloud. We touched on the evolution of ERP from past to present and how it is transforming into an enterprise management platform in the cloud. I explained our understanding at SAP of intelligent ERP in the cloud and asked for your votes on end-to-end processes and business capabilities of cloud ERP.

Thanks to those who participated in this dialogue by responding to our questionnaire. We have received input from stakeholders across most industries around the globe, and from both our customers and partners.

Now running into the final phase, the survey is still open until July 14, 2019. Nevertheless, I received many responses asking for the outcome of the survey, and I am happy to share the interim results without all the statistical information.

Interesting insights revealed

Following are a few of the most interesting observations and insights we gained.

  • The essence of an intelligent cloud ERP: By far, most respondents share the understanding that it represents an “enterprise management platform in the cloud, tasked to enable integrated business management across all core end-to-end processes at scale.” This proves that, for most enterprises, it is of utmost importance to overcome the fragmented world of uncoupled “best-of-breed” solutions, which prevent them from running and steering processes in real time.
  • The role of intelligent cloud ERP: Most respondents say it is about having a “system with structured end-to-end processes, which supports companies in connecting departments in intelligent ways across the entire enterprise.” Secondly, it is about “efficient and automated support for data-driven planning and decision-making.”
  • Priorities to focus on: “Delivering an enterprise-wide planning and decision support system with high automation is seen as major priority for driving ERP [in their company] going forward.” There’s no doubt that analytical capabilities based on in-memory data, with predictive scenarios and automated situation-specific proposals, are a clear imperative for serving the needs of the digital economy. At the same time, “resource optimization is key to fostering the ability to deliver products and services at optimal costs.”
  • Scope to be included: The survey shows that finance is by far the top-ranked line of business for intelligent cloud ERP. This is to be expected given the fact that almost all ERP definitions start from finance, followed by sales, engineering, and sourcing. But finance has triple the votes of all other capabilities together.
  • What an intelligent cloud ERP should not miss: This question was answered primarily as follows: finance, integration, process support, end-user focus, and flexibility. For more details about the most recent updates in finance, I recommend this blog describing the latest highlights in SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1905.
  • Less important areas: On the lower end, the business areas considered less important in the scope are: advanced transportation; environment, health, and safety; advanced warehousing; and sales force support. Specifically, basic warehousing is expected to run in the cloud. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as the demand for real-time connectivity of the above areas to core ERP is limited. However, they do play a role when it comes to integration into end-to-end processes.
  • Key drivers for investment in cloud ERP: “Improvements in total cost of ownership,” “Significant increase of process automation,” “Robust end-to-end processes with shared business objects and consistency.” As additional decision criteria, feedback included topics such as “integration” and “fast implementation.”

Key takeaways

Looking at the survey results as a whole and the comments we received, we see broad confirmation of our understanding of how to define an intelligent cloud ERP and gained helpful detailed insights on specific questions.

In addition, not surprisingly, we see strong emphasis on the integration of end-to-end processes, recognized as an essential element central to cloud ERP. Steering and managing in real time provide a rhythm like a heartbeat to enterprise operations.

For core support for the process of managing enterprise resources (planning, execution, and control) to satisfy customer demand at optimal financial performance, an intelligent and integrated business view is indispensable. Data consistency and 360-degree business views can be achieved with excellence when enterprise systems are interwoven to ensure seamless end-to-end processes.

The survey is still open for two more weeks! Feel free to share your thoughts. It’s your voice that counts.

You can follow me directly via LinkedIn or @BeSchulze.

And please listen to the replay of our “Pathways to the Intelligent Enterprise” Webinar featuring Phil Carter, chief analyst at IDC, and SAP’s Dan Kearnan and Ginger Gatling. Register here.