Lessons from the 2021 Digital Transformation Report

Written By: Eric Kimberling
Date: October 29, 2020

The last year has been unusual, to say the least.

With health concerns, economic turmoil, social unrest in certain parts of the world, and other challenges, 2020 is a year that many are eager to move past. Regardless of how events of the last year may have affected you and your team, it is undisputable that the landscape has changed for most. Some changes may be for the better and others for the worst, but it is clear that 2021 will be different than we may have expected just a few short months ago.

Our 2021 Digital Transformation Report highlights some of the most important trends, lessons learned, and best practices for digital transformations in the coming years. Below are some of the highlights of this newly released report, which you can download here.

The digital transformation landscape has changed significantly

The digital transformation industry has changed quite a bit over the last year. For example, remote employees and project teams have changed the way we work and manage our transformations. Health concerns have changed the way leaders manage their teams and plan for contingencies.

Just as importantly, the way organizations handle their digital transformations has changed considerably. We have found that after initially pausing their ERP and enterprise technology initiatives early in the pandemic, organizations have become much more decisive. Simply put, they are operating with a heightened sense of urgency – which is translating to more decisive action as it relates to their transformations.

Technology continues to evolve as well. Blockchain, internet of things, artificial intelligence, and other groundbreaking technologies continue to further permeate more old-fashioned enterprise software. In addition, leading ERP vendors are frantically trying to migrate their legacy, on-premise functionality to their newer flagship products. All of these things are contributing to the rapid rate of change among digital transformations.

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The digital transformation landscape has stayed the same

While the digital transformation landscape has in some ways changed dramatically, it has in other ways, largely remained the same. For example, digital transformation and ERP failures are still at an all-time high, which is largely unchanged despite the advancements in technology.

At the end of the day, digital transformation success vs. failure comes down to people and processes – two things that cannot be automated or improved from the advances in technology. The rapid rate of technological change is putting more pressure on people and processes in ways that haven’t been seen before. If anything, this “more of the same” pitfall is putting more pressure and risk on organizations and their transformations.

Oracle NetSuite: The best ERP system in the industry?

Our 2021 Digital Transformation Report also outlines our independent ranking of the top 10 ERP systems. This ranking is based on a number of objectives, quantitative, and qualitative criteria. While many vendors did well in the ranking, including common vendor names such as SAP S/4HANA, Oracle ERP Cloud, and Microsoft Dynamics 365, it is Oracle NetSuite that topped our list.

But is NetSuite really the best system in the market? It depends. The ranking is universal, taking an average of criteria across a broad section of industries and geographies, but those criteria may be weighted heavily based on your unique needs and requirements. For example, NetSuite did not do as well in our ranking of manufacturing ERP systems or supply chain management systems. So, while the ranking is a useful starting point, it is important to further prioritize and dissect software strengths and weaknesses relative to your needs.

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Supply Chain Management Systems: A critical key to success in 2021 and beyond

Supply chain management has become a big buzzword in 2020. Many companies with global supply chains were caught flat-footed when the pandemic disrupted and delayed those supply chains, which caused many manufacturing, distribution, and retail organizations to rethink their supply chain strategies.

Along with this realization came more focus on supply chain management transformations and related technologies. With this in mind, our 2021 Digital Transformation Report also provides an independent ranking of the top supply chain management systems in the market. This helps organizations think about what types of technologies might help improve their supply chains with more flexibility, transparency, and predictability.

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Customer Relationship Management: Driving topline revenue growth in uncertain times

Customer relationship management software – also known as CRM systems – is another antidote to uncertain economic times. It can help fine-tune your sales organization and processes to drive topline revenue growth.

Accordingly, we also released our top 10 CRM systems for 2021. This independent ranking includes common standalone CRM systems, such as Salesforce and Sugar CRM, along with ERP systems with strong CRM functionality, such as Microsoft and Sage. The report outlines these and other technologies that can help transform your sales organization.

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Human Capital Management: An underrated mandate for success in 2021

Human Capital Management (HCM) software is an underrated technology for 2021. Many organizations clearly recognize how ERP, CRM, and supply chain technologies can improve their business in these uncertain times, but not all of them think of HCM software in the same way.

However, HCM technology and transformations are critical in today’s day and age. New health-related regulatory requirements, employee attrition due to layoffs, and increasing merger and acquisition activity all point to the need for more robust HR and human capital capabilities. Some of the leading HR and HCM systems can help organizations more effectively navigate these new human realities.

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Two themes for 2021: Flexibility and Change

If there are two things to keep in mind as your transformation journey continues in 2021, they are flexibility and change. Organizations that can remain nimble, flexible, and adapt to change effectively are going to be the most successful. Those that stick to older, more rigid and more flawed approaches to digital transformation will fail.

For this reason, traditional and outdated ways of implementing new software and leveraging systems integrators are no longer going to cut it. Days of lack of accountability and system integrators running wild with your transformation are (or should be) over. It’s time to think differently about your digital transformation, which is exactly what our 2021 Digital Transformation Report is designed to help you define.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to brainstorm ideas related to your digital transformation. Whether you are embarking on an ERP, HCM, CRM, supply chain, or any other type of digital transformation, I am happy to be a sounding board as you continue your journey!

Kimberling Eric Blue Backgroundv2
Eric Kimberling

Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.

Eric Kimberling
Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.
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