Selecting the Right Automation Option: ERP or Specialized Products?

With the rising cost pressures, automation has become an organisation’s new way of operating and innovating. Today we see many ERPs adding advanced technologies to their products along with the automation of more and more business processes. New technologies like ML and RPA play a key role in how enterprise business process modules are written. These advancements come as no surprise given that ERPs have always been driven by the goal of increasing the efficiency of business processes and saving time spent on performing manual tasks.

At its core, intelligent process automation is the use of emerging technologies that can enable business process improvements and redesign. Such automation products can be presented in numerous ways according to the technology or the use case they deliver.


Industry Trends

Advances in ML are providing organisations with an increasing number of automation options. On one hand, ERPs are acquiring or partnering with automation experts to accelerate their RPA and Machine Learning portfolio while on the other end, niche and specialised automation vendors are focusing on developing connectors with core enterprise software. For instance, SAP has acquired Contextor – a European leader in design & RPA, and Signavio – a process automation startup to build its process intelligence offering. Oracle has partnered with Automation Anywhere and UiPath to develop its RPA capabilities.

Niche products for finance management provide advanced and specialised automation solutions for finance processes such as automated financial close management that include unified & automated platforms for accounts receivables and intercompany financial management. These solutions help companies to modernize & use best-in-class practices for their financial processes. Such products support different ERPs and therefore can help to automate functional areas working across multiple ERP systems.

Balancing Cost vs. Complexity

Niche solutions provide a greater depth of functionalities and may involve less cost and complexity than an ERP. We have seen companies preferring a purpose-built e-solution rather than wanting to expand the capabilities of ERP. However, if the depth of functionalities is almost the same as that of ERP capabilities, then it may involve less hassle to expand the capabilities of existing systems like ERP.

Organisations, thus, today face the challenge of choosing from a wide range of options, be it leveraging the automation capabilities of an enterprise suite or using a specifically designed solution for a given business function. With this fast-growing market and increasing cost pressures, the burden falls on companies to carefully evaluate not only their present needs but also anticipate the future scope to make the right decision in choosing an automation solution. Otherwise, they run the risk of building multiple fragmented and siloed solutions across their IT landscape.

Opticos supports clients with formulating automation strategies and implementing solutions using ERP or niche products,  as per your organisation’s specific requirements.

Authors: Abhishek Kale, Jasmeen Kaur and Johan Saks

Abhishek Kale, Senior Consultant with experience in Process Excellence, Digital Transformation, and ERP Consulting across multiple business sectors.
Jasmeen Kaur, Senior consultant with experience in Intelligent Automation, Process Transformation and Program Management.
Johan Saks, is a seasoned leader and Head of Digital Transformation at Opticos. He specialises in guiding clients through the challenges of digital transformation, strategic planning, and performance enhancement.

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