Getting a competitive advantage in business today means leveraging technology and talent. Nowhere do these two topics converge quite so poignantly as the discussion of how Millennials will shape the future of ERP technology. To stay ahead of the market, companies need both their ERP systems, and those who run them, to “operate” efficiently.
So, what influences can we expect the growing job market to have on ERP?
According to this University of Tampa Study, Negotiating the deal: using technology to reach the Millennials, (Journal of Behavior Studies in Business), Millennials are digital natives who prefer, “tech-centric environments that are active, collaborative, experiential, team-based, and self paced as possible.”
This is both encouraging and challenging news for ERP developers and implementers. On one hand, Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERP) gives Millennials the collaborative, team-based experiences and access they respect and prefer.
Millennials will likely take to well built and implemented ERP systems like fish to water. However, poorly implemented ERPs that use manual workarounds, untrained staff, or create duplicate data will be (understandably) a huge source of frustration to a generation of digital natives. Millennials will want an interface and ERP experience that meets their expectations.
So, what are some of those expectations?
This generation has had their tech experiences guided by user friendly applications their entire lives. Dashboards will have to push software complexity to the background and be intuitive, hierarchical and user-role centric. Department integration will need to be seamless and communication simple. Document collaboration (think Wiki) and file sharing will also ideally be easily done. In order to garner respect and cooperation with this workforce, multi-tasking capabilities will also be important without switching between or shutting down modules and applications.
Digital natives will also want to take their tech with them and value working off site and being able to access what they need, when they need it. Mobile tech with full access will be a must. This is, of course, a security challenge. According to the Ponemon Institute, 6 out of 10 data breaches occur through mobile. Aside from the obvious passwords, authentication and malware issues, Cloud ERP, mobile and varying-or-custom-device access environments have an array of challenges.
Perhaps the biggest challenge will simply be anticipating what a new generation of users prefers while simultaneously anticipating how they will change the environment themselves through their contributions. Luckily, no company needs to navigate these waters alone.
Talk to experts, like Parallel Solutions about how to choose an ERP system that has the collaborative interface and access your employees want while still maintaining the security you need. Contact Parallel Solutions at (440) 498-9920 to learn about the risks and rewards of various options.
Mary Jo O'Neill