2022 has been quite the year. From economic recession fears to life after the pandemic, December marks the end of what has been a wildly volatile year. While pragmatic business leaders continue to hope for the best, they must plan for the worst. Challenges with global supply chain delivery, material costs/inflation, and shifting workforce dynamics will likely continue well into 2023. Let’s look into our crystal ball for enterprise resource planning (ERP) trends and opportunities to capitalize on next year. As a primer, make sure to read our 2022 ERP trends for other relevant trends that didn’t make this list.
Trend 1: Top Line Growth Shifts to Bottom Line Fundamentals
During challenging market conditions, companies often shift from a growth mindset to closely managing costs. This should be the case again in 2023, as customer acquisition has grown increasingly difficult and the price of raw materials for inventory remains high. Look for companies to take a deeper look at their internal processes and systems, especially in regards to tools for ERP and finance, because they help manage costs more effectively for inventory, returns, and from vendors. We expect more leaders to evaluate technology that makes the ERP process more holistic and connected with other aspects of the business. Better visibility across the back office AND front office for sales, marketing, and customer service will be more common requirements for technology evaluations. If you are looking for additional ideas, Gartner published a helpful article with nine areas for leadership to pursue during difficult economic times.
Trend 2: Holiday Retail Sales Pave the Way for Economic Optimism
The stakes seem much higher this year for holiday retail sales. If results outperform expectations, it could pave the way for a much more optimistic 2023. Salesforce just released encouraging Black Friday retail results, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud customer sales growth up 14% compared to last year. If consumer spending and confidence remain high, we could see a more broad economic recovery earlier in the year than most have predicted. Also, look for more technology innovation related to point of sale systems (POS). IoT connected devices and mobile smartphones/tablets will pave the way for additional SMBs to leverage for counter sales and service needs. In fact, keep an eye out for Ascent Point of Sale in 2023. Optimized for companies that don’t fall into the traditional retail industry but want the ability to make a counter sale.
Trend 3: Cloud Migrations Become Anchor Technologies
We tend to agree with analysts that predict more business leaders will adopt cloud technologies like cloud ERP in 2023. Legacy and paper-based systems are no longer viewed as a prudent solution for managing complex assets like inventory and suppliers. Furthermore, we agree with the prediction by analyst firm TEC, which indicates not only will there be more companies considering and migrating to the cloud, but leaders will expect these systems to offset internal business challenges. It’s no longer good enough for technology to simply improve productivity, it must now offset gaps within a business.
For example, TEC describes a need for comprehensive technology platforms to break down silos for business leaders:
“Companies increasingly require the capabilities of enterprise suites that break down traditional departmental silos, as well as accompanying software categories across ERP, including field service management (FSM), enterprise asset management (EAM), customer relationship management (CRM), manufacturing execution system (MES), and whatever other three-letter acronym (TLA) you can find. With digitization slowly becoming the norm, enterprise software customers are beginning to realize that these traditional categories were products of vendors that wanted to create niches for themselves in the market and not so much because customers needed these capabilities as separate solutions.”
-TEC Principal Analyst Predrag (PJ) Jakovljevic
Trend 4: Operationalized Artificial Intelligence
The next trend we predict is that AI becomes pervasive in companies of all sizes. While traditionally thought of as an enterprise perk, artificial intelligence will be brought to the masses thanks to a modular approach by technology providers. Vendors have begun to reap the benefits of years of data science investments, with Salesforce and others, building machine learning and AI tools into products as add on features. This modular approach to AI will enable more small and mid sized companies to operationalize AI by testing out how it impacts operations, sales, and customer service without a massive investment. Be on the lookout for a new complementary offering from Ascent Solutions in this arena, as well.
Trend 5: Smarter Supply Chains for Better Sustainability
Few question how important sustainability has become to consumers and companies over the last few years. While it may have looked like a marketing ploy to some, next year it will become a driving force for many companies. Better field service and inventory management technology helps companies reduce waste by identifying more efficient delivery routes for parts/materials, thus reducing a company’s carbon footprint. Look for more leaders to leverage technology through the lens of sustainability while vendors build more features, analytics, and AI that reduces unnecessary waste in a supply chain and customer order.
TEC put this into perspective with the concept of leveraging electric vehicles in delivery fleets:
“The circular economy and servitization concepts are inherently positive for the environment, and luckily, planning and scheduling optimization (PSO) engines can now optimize routes and therefore lower the environmental impact of service technicians’ vehicles. With many governments and consumers aiming to make electric vehicles the norm in the near future, it stands to reason companies will learn to optimize the use of any electric-powered models they acquire and CO2 consumption overall.”
-TEC Principal Analyst Predrag (PJ) Jakovljevic
Did we miss any trends that you think will be impactful in 2023? Let us know and make sure to check out our 100% native Salesforce applications on the AppExchange, if you’d like to learn more about our technology solutions.