A year ago, the view ahead for business technology was all about AI, augmented reality, even 5G. But in the space of a couple of months, those expectations have been wiped clean, possibly never to return. Organizations are trying to keep a steady course, and many large-scale projects are now off the menu.
For example, in April the Hershey Company reported that it would pause an in-process ERP implementation because of the coronavirus. In a move describes as “prudent” by president and CEO Michele Buck, the company will dial back the supply chain leg of the project, delaying it for a year and saving an estimated $50 million in capital spending.
Other businesses are doing the same. An interesting article from Raven Intel put some numbers on this. Their estimates are that about 70% of projects are moving forward with changes to timeframes and scope. Our team hears daily about projects that are now delayed because they don’t meet new, stricter criteria for approval from their finance departments.
The pivot trends towards favoring enterprise projects that offer realistic goals. There’s less justification to invest in cutting edge technologies like AI and blockchain over those that offer a clear path to ROI. That could translate to fewer technology purchases (IBM for example has reported a decline in sales of 3.4% in Q1, likely due to enterprises cutting back on tech spending.) Many organizations already host applications on cloud, and this may accelerate the move towards cloud for others. Conversely, many businesses may decide to continue supporting existing platforms like their ERPs, enhancing their functionality instead of replacing them outright.
Pivoting to fully remote processes won’t be difficult for the IT sector, many members of which already worked from home. But a renewed focus on automation and online collaborative tools is very likely. Enterprises are also likely to prize products and processes that offer resiliency and agility, and that may mean replacing enterprise-scale waterfall projects with agile, phased approaches to software delivery. According to this article, a third of businesses surveyed recently said they have increased their reliance on agile since the outbreak began.
However, one type of project unlikely to lose momentum is business intelligence. This article from Forbes shares some metrics from Dresner that confirm that BI is more relevant than ever during this downturn. It’s especially true for self-service BI. More than 60% of the business leaders surveyed considered it essential to their operations. “Offloading business analyst workloads back to users by providing self-service BI applications is freeing business analyst teams to take on more complex pricing, product mix, and supply chain modeling, all essential for surviving in a turbulent economy.”
In a volatile economy, leadership will continue to depend on the data insights business intelligence delivers. And a self-service solution empowers their workforce to recognize and respond to changes more rapidly than traditional, static reporting.
Orbit’s reporting and analytics solution helps organizations obtain more insight from their ERP solutions. Learn how we can help your organization in a free demo with a product expert.