Why it’s time to loosely couple your ERP.

At WithoutWire, we’ve seen dramatic changes in our history. Paper transitioned to computers, then to smartphones, and beyond. With artificial intelligence, things are evolving quickly; it requires us to start thinking differently about how we connect as a business. Whether you’re privy to it or not, decoupled systems are here to stay. IT projects and software implementations, and integration have left many people with headaches, and we’re here to help you avoid them. As a company, WithoutWire has had the privilege of being on the frontline of changes in technology. Payroll, HR, marketing, sales, customer service—all good examples of platforms that now live outside of the financial operations engine known as an ERP, and despite the critical nature of the software applications, they are now integrated into an ERP—not buried inside of it. These functional operations are now independent and creating new and innovative competitive advantages for their adopters.   
As the ERP acronym indicates, it’s a resource planning system for businesses that have come to represent a more significant meaning. Many are now suited to complex manufacturing supply chain management and project accounting. These features, developed in the ’90s, failed to continue to grow, however. The diminishing payload of an ERP’s backend has forced a slowdown in innovation. As anyone in the software industry will tell you, the more code in a solution, the harder it is to manage, and then the harder it is to innovate.   

As companies continue to look for improvements beyond the limitations of an ERP, integrated solutions have tried and have failed many times. These failures happen because many IT and operational staff don’t take kindly to outside or integrated add-ons. Across industries, it has been challenging to propose a solution based on these sorts of integrated add-ons. It’s taken many years for the tech and design ideas to adapt to this, and advances, particularly in security, have been enormous enablers for integrated solutions that span well beyond an ERP, helping segue into the world of cloud computing. Fast-forward to today and now, antiquated systems are replaced by open-sourced ones, and ignorance of third-party add-ons replaced by marketplaces committed to add-on features.   

It’s hard to argue that ERPs are well-positioned to meet the needs of the next decade. However, an ERP cannot compete with cloud-based services when it comes to the modern supply chain. This is because ERP systems were built with an inward focus, much like a traditional 20th Century company. But today, the Fortune 1000 executives are looking for solutions in supply chain visibility and management that augment the weaknesses of a traditional ERP.   

Licensing of an ERP system can also be a deterrent. It is costly to authorize every user that needs to see information and create separate log-ins. The data structures alongside security layers and even UI’s are primed to be replaced by solutions like Microsoft Power Platform and other programs in the Microsoft Dataverse. The main goal is to open up visibility to your ERP. Let data be analyzed by other systems more efficiently.   

Although an integrated cloud approach to business is finally making great strides, there’s still work to be done when a company chooses to loosely couple its ERP system. However, with the proper planning, project, and procedure, you can finally start taking advantage of add-ons that enable your business to explore new possibilities and reflect the positive growth that you’ve been fostering for years.