A strong industry with a high productivity rate bolsters economic growth. This bodes well especially for the Indian economy as it continues to methodically respond to the emergence of third platform technologies
By Anish Kanaran
New generation of technologies that are emerging in business promise greater levels of responsiveness and agility than ever before. Each of them has the potential to provide companies with the tools to offer a better customer experience and adapting more quickly to the clients’ changing needs. They are called the ‘third platform’ technologies.
The ‘first platform’ was the mainframe computer – a single machine used by large organisations for critical tasks via terminals. The ‘second platform’ was the development of servers and PCs. The ‘third platform’, according to analyst firm International Data Corporation (IDC), comprises mobile computing, social networking, cloud services, and Big Data analytics technologies.
According to IDC, 2015 is expected to be the year of widespread adoption of third platform technologies, as business choose more innovative and flexible approaches over saturated second platform technologies. As this interest in next generation technologies continues to rise, India is expected to be at the forefront of this technological shift. In fact, IDC predicts that factors such as recovering markets, growing capabilities and innovating leaders will act as catalyst during this transition phase making 2015 a significantly positive year for the India IT eco-system.
But while the third platform offers huge opportunities – especially in sectors such as manufacturing where it affords access to data about machines, partners, customers and suppliers alike – it also presents new challenges. Organisations will need to manage an increasingly overwhelming volume of data that needs to be converted into actionable intelligence. Unless they can achieve this, third platform technologies could be a huge headache.
The question, therefore, is how can these technologies be harnessed by organisations – and the wider economy – to revolutionise how they operate? The answer lies in a new generation of enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.
However, ERP software needs to break ranks with the past. Rather than being back-office systems that provide transactional support, they need to bring information afforded by the third platform to those who need it, at the moment they need it, in a form that they can use, and in a way that they can act, regardless of where they are located.
ERP applications with social, cloud, mobility and analytics capabilities can help unlock the future potential of a business. Given the increasing number of connected devices that churn out a large amount of data, cutting-edge ERP solutions sort, filter and organize information in a manner that allows real-time access and interpretation. They work by putting relevant information to the fore through integrated functions designed to highlight the most critical data.
Businesses can leverage the strategically filtered and organised information to make accurate decisions. It also affords new insights, strategies, plans, optimal business operations, new market opportunities, and the ability to act with confidence.
Having easy access to relevant information will assist in a company’s operations and help develop clear goals. It promotes faster reaction to customer inquiries and enables better tracking of order status and forecasts as well as inventory levels. Additionally, ERP solutions with enhanced mobile access capabilities promote profit growth by allowing employees who are always on the go to access information – anywhere, at any time and on any device – while protecting data security and confidentiality.
The third platform, in short, is essential for accessibility, and ERP solutions with such capability gives companies greater flexibility and agility to effectively keep up with fast-changing conditions, without losing the benefits of standardization and process integration.
Aside from enhancing business processes, sophisticated ERP software brings customer interaction and partner integration to the next level. Branches, customers, suppliers and partners can be effectively and efficiently connected regardless of locations. This seamless interaction is essential to attain end-to-end visibility especially in multi-site operations.
When integrated and used properly, the third platform supports the collaborative operational aspects of manufacturing and other sectors through ERP solutions that allow colleagues, business partners, and customers to communicate in real-time. Their information exchanges are tracked and stored as part of the ERP system.
Turning to next-generation ERP solutions helps organisations across industries to improve their productivity and operate more efficiently. Looking at the bigger picture, a strong industry with a high productivity rate bolsters economic growth. This bodes well especially for the Indian economy as it continues to methodically respond to the emergence of third platform technologies.