Your Digital Business Transformation: Is There a Future for ERP? (Part 2)

In my last article, which was Part 1 of the in-depth digital business transformation series for 2020 and beyond, I introduced the concept of EBC, “Enterprise Business Capabilities.” Here in Part 2, I’ll explain what EBC is and why it’s so important for the future of your enterprise.

Let’s dive right in.

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What Is EBC?

Enterprise Business Capabilities, or “EBC,” is a new term coined by the Gartner research team. EBC, the fourth era of ERP, extends the capabilities of ERP’s third era (postmodern ERP) into a new, more effective format that meets the needs of modern businesses and their customers.

Factoid: It turns out we can thank the research experts at Gartner for the term “ERP” as well. Back in the early 1990s, when most people thought of ERP simply as manufacturing management software or MRP (Material Requirements/Resource Planning), the Gartner team foresaw the need for a solution that would tie together the shop floor and the top floor. Thus, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) was born.

According to Gartner, the widespread digital business transformation to EBC will happen quickly. They predict that, by 2023, 40% of large enterprises will move to an EBC strategy, away from monolithic vendor strategies.

The main reason that enterprises will choose to make the move to an Enterprise Business Capabilities strategy is so they can better meet their customers’ needs.

Thinking Outside the Box for True Digital Business Transformation

In the past, ERP systems served a very specific purpose: connect the front office with the back office for seamless internal processing. These days, EBC needs to serve an updated purpose: meet customer expectations to deliver a seamless customer experience (CX).

Since the advent of eCommerce — and especially in the decade of the 2010s — customers have become accustomed to fast service, simple online ordering and, in more recent years, almost instantaneous shipping. Today’s customer wants around-the-clock access to account details and ordering capabilities, and that includes B2B customers.

These days, no matter who your consumer is, your job is to deliver the effortless CX they demand – and if you can’t deliver that, you can bet your competitors will.

Therefore, the task of enterprise leaders preparing for success in the 2020s and beyond is to expand the focus from mere operational efficiency to full customer service efficiency. And that means that your forward-looking digital strategy needs to revolve around customer experience.

ERP is a part of that experience, of course, but it’s only one part of many. The third era of ERP, postmodern ERP, showed that a variety of loosely coupled point solutions are better able to tailor fit to your enterprise and provide agility. The fourth era of ERP, EBC, will extend that thinking to its obvious conclusion: A postmodern ERP should only form one part of your total Enterprise Business Capabilities – all of which can be loosely coupled together so you can tailor-fit your enterprise operations to your customers’ evolving needs.

Coming Up Next…

How can your enterprise develop a strategy to release yourself from the shackles of Industrial Age thinking and monolithic vendor strategies? Get the answer in Part 3.


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