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article imageQ&A: The rise of ERP through the coronavirus pandemic Special

By Tim Sandle     May 29, 2020 in Business
ERP software houses sensitive business information — from financials to employee data, and, in normal times, large enterprises use it to keep track of all their moving parts to see big-picture operations. This is being challenged in the time of COVID-19
According to Ekrem Hatip, Senior Solution Architect, Syntax, companies in all industries will realize the need for some system that centralizes their operations despite a decentralized workforce. So although enterprises could cut their ERP, he predicts that, instead, enterprises will maintain or even double down on their ERP investment because no other technology supports the centralization of information like it.
Digital Journal caught up with Hatip to understand the future of ERP post-coronavirus.
Digital Journal: How has the coronavirus situation altered the way of work?
Ekrem Hatip: Some companies already had work-from-home policies for employees, but many did not. This forced them to pull together remote work plans with very little lead time. Today, many organizations have streamlined their remote working environments, but just a few months ago, they faced multiple business continuity concerns.
Remote work presents several technological challenges, including outdated equipment and unsecure home networks. Additionally, we’ve faced logistical and social challenges brought on by inconsistent working environments, adapting to fully virtual communication and finding a suitable work life balance with so much of work time bleeding into what is traditionally the home space.
DJ: Do these changes herald a ‘new normal’?
Hatip: More organizations will keep work-from-home policies permanently even after the coronavirus situation passes to provide more flexibility to the employees who might choose to work from home in the long-term. Businesses will also hold more online meetings as opposed to on-site and in-person meetings with colleagues and business partners.
Take a high school teacher now teaching from home, for example. After the initial hurdles — technological and otherwise — all parties, including administrators, teachers and students, are getting more proficient in navigating this new environment. Because of this, there may be fewer inclement weather days or days where many students typically do not attend school anyways, like the Monday and Tuesday preceding Thanksgiving break. These days will be converted to remote learning days.
DJ: How are technological challenges being addressed?
Hatip:Connectivity seems to be a major challenge when many employees shift from working in the office to in their homes. People need to increase the capacity of their network connections, and organizations have to provide secure communication methods. Many employees are using their own equipment to connect to corporate networks to fulfill their job duties since, in some cases, the companies were not able to provide official equipment soon enough.
This actually presents an opportunity for ‘Managed Virtual Desktop’ environments in which the end user only needs a simple browser or other thin client to connect to a virtual computer provisioned by the employer and secured per the corporate policies. This way, organizations can isolate potentially non-compliant employees’ networks and equipment.
DJ: How about the economic challenges? What challenges do IT departments face?
Hatip:It is now a challenge for traditional IT departments to administer and maintain on-premises equipment. Also, some might even have difficulties getting support or solution parts from vendors since the supply chain is now impacted. More CIOs may consider moving their system to the cloud so they won’t have to worry about infrastructure management in the future.
DJ: How about Enterprise Resource Planning specifically, what does the current crisis mean for these systems?
Hatip:During times of economic uncertainty, companies will start to look into ways to cut costs. During the 2008 crisis, many organizations decided to outsource their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to Managed Hosting Providers. But with the proliferation of public cloud offerings, many more organizations will seriously consider making the move.
DJ: How will ERP systems develop post-coronavirus?
Hatip:The coronavirus made people realize once again the importance of a robust and resilient supply chain to keep the goods flowing and services running. Now, there is even more focus on the availability and scalability of ERP systems as they are front and center of the supply chain. For example, a manufacturer of paper products or an online merchant will not face many issues scaling how much their ERP systems can manage if it is in the cloud, but it would be a challenge to do the same for on-premise systems. Many organizations will also consider pure SaaS models for their ERP needs.
More about Supply chain, enterprise resource planning, Planning
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