10 years of ERP trends and Sage X3

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It’s been an exciting 10 years for Inixion and Sage X3, since Inixion’s inception in 2006. Acquisition and growth have had a major impact on Inixion’s path over the past 10 years, including the acquisition of Sage X3 from Adonix by Sage in 2005, as well as the acquisition of Sage X3’s only UK partner XKO by Solarsoft. The latter, and the formal launch of Sage in the UK in 2009, provided both stimulus and opportunity for Inixion: still the UK’s only dedicated Sage X3 services provider.

Acquisition and growth

Whilst acquisitions in the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) market are hugely exciting for the ERP market itself, unfortunately they may sometimes cause existing customers a lot of headache; as the new owner may “sunset” the product that they are using. This could result in customers having to look for a new ERP system in the short-term or making the existing one work without the necessary new versions or support that would keep the system more up to date; creating a need to replace in the long-term.

However, they can also be really positive, illustrated by the acquisition of X3 by Sage. Since Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage, has declared Sage X3 one of four strategic Sage products, the product has become even more functionally rich, as well as being one of few ERP products that provide the same product (functionality/user-interface) on-premise, as well as in the cloud.

Cloud and mobile

Whilst cloud ERP and mobile ERP don’t necessarily have to go hand-in-hand, mobile and real-time expectations have become more important over the past 10 years. For those companies with a field-sales team, mobile access to inventory and sales ordering are now almost a must-have to stay competitive.

And although cloud ERP has been around for a lot longer than the last 10 years, the adoption in the UK of cloud ERP systems has steadily grown. In 2014 Gartner predicted that it would take another 10 years before the majority of organisations change to cloud ERP.

Customisation

With the maturity of many leading ERP systems over the past 10 years comes rich functionality, reducing the need for significant customisation. Whilst there will always be some level of customisation, i.e. integration with other business critical systems, etc., less and less organisations now require this. Perhaps not only the “out-of-the-box” functionality now available, but also the recognition by organisations that more customisation can equal more support costs, vastly inflated upgrade costs and a danger to the longevity of the system has caused this reduction.
The drive to limit customisation and offer an “out-of-the-box” ready or configured ERP with deep functionality and features is at the core of Sage X3 provision by Inixion.

Social/Collaboration

We live in the age of Social Media and more and more companies have or are looking to embrace that, both externally and internally. ERP is no longer solely about “Enterprise.” “Resource.” “Planning.”, but about creating transparency and visibility across the business. Whilst access to social media has transformed Marketing, Customer Service and even Sales departments over the past several years, traditionally financial and operational functions have been less affected to date. And although collaboration within these areas will be more about sharing data than social media, the demand to easily share data and collaborate across the business through the ERP, now Business Management System has been steadily rising.

The next 10 years

The past 10 years have flown by in a flurry of recession, increased globalisation, ever changing regulatory compliance demands, Brexit, etc. One or all of these may have had an impact on organisations and have created the need for businesses to become more agile. To enable businesses to deal with this demand they need to be able to depend on their Business Management system to provide the right information at the right time in the right location.

Trends for the next 10 years:

  • Big data – yes, it’s a term that’s been around for a while, but as with any development in technology, affordability and technological advances will make this more easily accessible. You may already be reading this on a mobile device that has greater computing capacity than that that took man to the moon…
  • Cloud – as mentioned before, adoption of cloud will continue to grow and develop. We already know about data centres; with online retailers planning drone deliveries of their products from airborne warehouses, what next for systems themselves?
  • Bots – Bots are applications that perform automated tasks. Sage has already developed Pegg, a Chatbot for its small business software Sage One, which manages expenses. Will bots take over ERP? The continued drive to create more efficiency with less administration may set them, or similar enhancements, loose…

We’re really excited about what the next 10 years of ERP will bring. We will continue to listen to and work with our customers to ensure that they get the best out of their Sage X3 system whether it’s on-premise or in the cloud.