As we round out the year and make way for 2021, it’s a great time to reflect on the year we have had. Our wins, our losses, and the areas for improvement. Many organizations faced challenges in 2020 that uncovered unknown or unexpected weaknesses leading to problems during the pandemic that could have been easily avoided with the right software. So as you reflect, take a look at what those areas may have been for your company and team. When justifying a substantial investment in your company’s operations, it’s important to consider the trends that are moving your industry and company.

There’s a broad range in today’s market – some businesses are experiencing some of the more turbulent times of their day, and others are seeing rapid growth. Regardless of where your company falls on the spectrum, 2020 has proven the following two trends are kickers that you should keep top of mind as you build out your digital strategy for 2021.

Flexibility

As one of the top digital transformation trends our team identified going into 2021, flexibility is key to surviving and thriving as we welcome the New Year. If there is anything we learned from 2020, it’s that the future can be impossible to accurately predict. When COVID-19 hit the United States, many sectors and operational elements of different businesses were impacted. For example, supply chains required massive overhauls, entire workforces migrated to a remote model, retail moved nearly fully online, and many employees were furloughed or terminated – all of which happened within a matter of weeks.

The inflexible and siloed systems of the past won’t cut it in 2021 and beyond for companies that want to continue to excel. Pursuing an ERP implementation as you welcome new beginnings in the new year will improve organizational competencies that provide flexibility to adapt your business model as it evolves with these uncertain times.

Remote Workforces

Each city, state, and country has different guidelines and regulations in place to help round the corner of the pandemic. However, the message has been relatively the same across the world – stay home. Staying home predominantly means working from home as well, job permitting. With this in mind, the ability to log into on-premise company systems is unattainable for those who are working outside of the office regularly due to the push toward working remotely.

Today, nearly every software vendor has evolved its products to provide a cloud-based operating system. Cloud ERP systems provide the flexibility for employees to access company data swiftly and with ease, simply by logging in. Although there are a handful of pitfalls associated with implementing a Cloud ERP vs. an on-premise ERP, the flexibility, scalability, and ease of use are benefits that many companies recognize, especially as we continue to push ourselves out of these unprecedented times.

Supply Chain Adjustments

Consumer behavior shifted dramatically when the pandemic hit in 2020, shifting buyers’ focus toward products that were stocked on the shelves at a regular rate. Things like toilet paper and cleaning products began to disappear from convenience stores, and meat distributors and food companies had to ramp up production drastically in a short period of time, putting a lot of strain on their supply chains. Although we hope it will be at a different rate, these effects will trickle into 2021. It will be the companies with a sound manufacturing ERP system that persevere through this extra strain on their operations.

Beyond simply following the trends, there are countless benefits that come with implementing and new ERP, CRM, or HCM software into your operations. From increased operational efficiencies, cost savings, and improved competitive advantage, the benefits of a digital transformation will almost always be shown in the ROI of the initial investment in the software. This is especially true if you bring in the right team to help you implement the software and guide you in organizational change management with the digital transformation.

Now is the time to analyze or reanalyze operational needs as we head into 2021. Life will be forever in flux, and some years will see new, unprecedented changes just like we saw in 2020. It’s our job as business leaders and suppliers to be prepared for these tide shifts and stay nimble in our operations.

If you have questions about whether now is the right time to pursue a digital transformation, please feel free to contact us. I am happy to be an informal sounding board. Otherwise, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you and yours!

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