Enabling Digital Transformation: Enterprise Applications (ERP)
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ERP serves as an important component that connects various business operations and verticals in an organisation. As a part of digital strategy, many organisations have started adopting digital tools and technologies where an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution is one of the primary components. ERP was originally applied to manufacturing systems, but today it describes the software at the core of an organisation’s business, without which it could not function.


ERP software has evolved significantly since it first came into widespread existence in the 1980s. Major vendors like SAP and Oracle offer sophisticated suites of software that integrate several functions. Other vendors offer ‘best-of-breed’ applications optimised for a particular purpose or market segment. The implementation, maintenance and efficient management of ERP software is a large industry in its own right. ERP services companies are a major part of the global ICT industry.


Enterprise applications are core to the business

All enterprises run core application software essential to their business. These include financial software and applications like human resources/human capital management (HR/HCM) and customer relationship management (CRM). They also typically run mission-critical applications like manufacturing, distribution and logistics and others, depending on their vertical market sector. ERP better integrates various business units and data flowing in departments such as backend office operations, accounting, inventory management and finance management throughout an organisation.

Some of the industries benefitting from ERP include banks and insurance companies that run vast client databases, manufacturers running sophisticated production and asset management systems, retailers, government agencies, educational institutions, transport companies – organisations in every market sector – run specialised applications that enable them to efficiently run and manage their operations.


Cloud transforming ERP

Like all applications, ERP systems are increasingly becoming cloud-based, or use cloud infrastructure for much of their functionality. Today, almost all the major vendors are migrating their product offerings to the cloud, using the SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model.

As ERP migrates to the cloud it is changing the business models of both vendors and user organisations. It is also affecting the ERP services market. The global Ecosystm study on Cloud ERP Solutions – Best Practices and Vendor Selection finds that organisations which are planning to use Cloud ERP solutions prioritise industry expertise and local presence of data centres as a significant selection criterion for vendors.


Cloud computing encourages a pay-per-use subscription model for ERP and other applications which are changing the structure of the industry. Users are moving their budgets from the CapEx (capital expenditure) to the OpEx (operational expenditure) model, where outgoings are better able to be varied according to use.


A giant, mission-critical matrix

ERP is referred to as ‘mission-critical’ applications for a very good reason. An organisation’s core business functions are non-negotiable and without them, the organisation will cease to function. In addition, they need to be robust and flexible and capable of meeting the demands of changing technologies, economics and business conditions.

In this increasingly connected world, ERP extends beyond the enterprise. Modern ERP systems are interconnected in a giant business matrix that enables a world of global commerce. ERP systems support multiple interfaces and act as a modular system to any organisations demands. Their importance to the global business should not be underestimated.


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A luminary within the ICT arena in Asia Pacific and Japan, Craig has accumulated a wealth of experience in industry-leading companies across a career spanning more than three decades. As both a vendor and consultant, he has provided counsel on ICT strategy to hundreds of technology users and providers, along with private and public sector organisations around the world. A distinguished business leader, Craig has also demonstrated expertise in cross-cultural communications and leadership, having managed large diverse teams across multiple geographies. Previously Vice President, Global Strategy and Digital Services Group at Fujitsu, Craig served for many years as the only senior non-Japanese executive, and acted as the key interface between the company’s US$14billion international business, and its headquarters in Japan. He played a pivotal role in the global roll-out of Fujitsu’s digital services, solutions and technologies, including its cloud, IoT, AI, and big data offerings. Prior to this, he spent more than a decade at Gartner, including roles as diverse as CEO Gartner Japan, and Group VP/Global Chief of Research, Techology and Service Providers. Outside the office, Craig is a prolific industry speaker, and has presented at over 1,500 events globally. He is also Vice-Chair of the Australian Computer Society (NSW), a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders, and serves on the NSW Council of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and the National Standing Committee on Digital Trade and Cybersecurity. Craig holds an MBA in International Business/Marketing(SGSM). He is currently in the midst of attaining a Doctor of Business Administration by Research at the University of Southern Queensland.

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