22/01/2014 06:04 GMT | Updated 23/03/2014 05:59 GMT

ERP Software in 2014: Six Predicted Trends

2013 was an eventful year in ERP, with notable positive developments including the increase in mobile and business intelligence (as many predicted twelve months ago) and the increase in adoption of SaaS and cloud solutions. The year saw a number of major ERP implementations, with successes and failures at all levels.

As we enter a new year, here are 6 ERP predictions for 2014 that are being widely discussed by industry professionals:

1. ERP failures won't be a thing of the past

2013 saw a number of high-profile ERP failures (some of the biggest examples being stateside). The complex nature of ERP implementations means that there is always a risk of failure, particularly if coupled with insufficient project resources, or organisations that do not have the right ERP consultants or system integrators. The majority of accounts suggested that ERP failure rates did not slow in 2013, so it would seem most likely that this is likely to continue.

2. ERP customers becoming better educated on systems

ERP projects are well documented, with 2013 seeing a definite increase in the media reporting and availability of white papers offering case studies on both successful and unsuccessful ERP implementations. This is something that CIO's, CFO's and project managers are well aware of, making it easier than ever for them to do their homework ahead of selecting an ERP vendor. Add to this the increase in webinars, white papers and blogs on almost anything around ERP implementations and one has to deduce that for a savvy project leader there is plenty of opportunity to do some in depth homework.

3. CIO's, CFO's and Project managers accepting accountability for project successes (and failures)

The role of the IT leader and the CIO was a much discussed topic of 2013, which many have noted is reflective of the speed technological changes occur within the specialist fields that consultants and contractors operate within. With the number of major ERP implementations taking place - with both failures as successes - the discourse now looks to be shifting to increase the focus onto the individuals heading up the project. This means that in 2014 there is a good chance that the person delegating the responsibility to ERP consultants or vendors will be the one held accountable for the end results.

4. Tough competition for SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Dynamics from Tier II competitors

The competition from Tier 2 vendors, up against SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Dynamics is nothing new, in fact in 2013 Tier 1 did a great deal to regain some of the market share that they had lost in previous years. It will be very interesting to see how this does develop over the next twelve months, with a number of Tier II vendors now boasting increased financial backing. One thing is certain though, the fierce competition between Tier I and II vendors will certainly continue through 2014.

5. Mobile Business Intelligence growth to continue

Mobile business intelligence solutions are likely to remain a key priority as organisations seek to get the most out of their investment in ERP systems. As we saw in 2013, a great many organisations turned to these tools to increase their return on investment, with the emergence of mobile business intelligence providing the ability for employees and key personnel to access the necessary information wherever they are. This is something that is highly likely to continue into 2014, having shown no signs of slowing down in 2013.

6. Cloud based ERP to gain market share

2013 saw ERP users, tempted by low cost and speed to market, adopting more cloud based solutions than ever before. With the benefits of cloud ERP too tempting to resist for many CIOs and IT leaders, this movement away from on premise, at least in part, is set to increase in 2014.

Whilst on premise skills are still the biggest area of customer demand, requests for ERP professionals with cloud expertise are set to grow exponentially over the next two years which reflects the momentum that cloud adoption is gathering amongst the ERP user community. This could lead to a very real skills shortage which has prompted many on premise SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft HR consultants (for example) to cross train in to cloud.

These are just a few of the key predictions for 2014, based on the discourse around ERP software at the year end, as well as observations of the developments seen in 2013.