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Next-Generation Enterprise Resource Planning:

What’s Right, What’s Wrong and What’s Changing

Executive Summary

The enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is a pillar of nearly every company’s record-keeping and management of business processes. It is essential to the smooth functioning of a business’s accounting and finance functions. In manufacturing and distribution, ERP also can manage inventory and logistics. Some companies use it to handle human resources functions like tracking employees, payroll and related costs.

Partly because of their centrality, ERP systems have been slow to evolve since they emerged in the 1990s. Now, however, ERP systems have begun to change, facilitated by the growing availability of new technologies including cloud computing, collaboration, mobility, analytics and planning, which have the potential to address shortcomings and the most common complaints in today’s systems.

The users of ERP systems are changing as well. The demographic shift taking place in the ranks of senior executives and managers, from the baby boom generation to those who grew up with computer technology, is creating demand for software that is both more capable and more usable. One of our objectives in this research was to gauge the appetite for a “better” ERP experience. Over the past decade there have been small but steady improvements in the design of systems and the underlying technologies. Now, as vendors are introducing more significant changes, we wanted to assess the degree to which users are or are not satisfied and to get a sense of how motivated they will be to replace their existing systems with new ones.


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