Low-code remedy for building enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems

For too long, ERP systems, most commonly found in manufacturing and supply chain companies, have lived with the notorious reputation of being far too expensive and time-consuming. It takes a lot of thought, resources like hardware, databases, dedicated IT team, third-party APIs. And while the outcome of this investment of time and money to create a highly customized ERP is perfect for the business, it won’t be long before something in the business environment or strategy changes and the ERP is rendering for further customizations and updates.

Most legacy ERP systems fail in the rapidly changing digital age because these systems are either too slow, lack flexibility, or are too complex to support the modern digital enterprise. And as a result, ERPs can become obsolete because updates can either be too disruptive, or too expensive, or both.

Today’s disruptive business landscape demands the speed and agility manufacturers need to meet changing market needs and supply chains. They need ERP systems that support a high rate of change and instant access to business intelligence to differentiate themselves and compete in this new world of remote and socially distant workforces.

The cloud and the four walls of the company

For many years, businesses feared they weren’t using modern cloud-based ERP systems. Resistance to moving to the cloud is due to the critical nature of the information hosted by ERPs.

But, with the growing need for cloud-based solutions and the operational efficiencies offered by vendors, ERPs can be moved off-premises and reside in the cloud.

“By 2021, 30% of manufacturers will use low-code technologies to build business-relevant applications without requiring the required coding skills.” –IDC

“76% of companies plan to migrate or have already migrated to the cloud.” says another report.

New cloud-based ERP systems have learned to adopt low-code technology that makes them less dependent on costly upgrade and maintenance cycles. This further reduces companies’ reliance on their IT teams who should take the time and responsibility to implement traditional ERPs, whether hosted or on-premises.

Low Code ERP

Modern trends suggest that more and more companies are adopting low-code platforms for the rapid development of enterprise applications, including ERPs, CRMs, accounting applications, and more. Gartner predicts that “by 2024, low-code application development will account for more than 65% of application development activity.”

By definition, a low-code development platform provides a development environment used to build applications through graphical user interfaces and configuration instead of traditional hard-coded programming.

By leveraging an intuitive drag-and-drop user interface to configure screens, process flows, and purpose-built apps, new-age citizen developers or business people can deliver powerful, easy-to-use apps. .

Thus, ERP systems that are built on low-code platforms are modular and allow the manufacturer to quickly update and customize what they need outside of the tool. Once changes are made, they can be deployed instantly to all end users of the ERP solution, unlike legacy ERPs.

With low-code, business logic, security and user management are integrated.

Out of IT service

Low-code ERP puts the power back in the hands of the business user who relies on ERP as an asset for day-to-day operations. Forrester describes these business users as “citizen developers.” These low-code citizen developers can build mobile apps, add workflows, visualize data on dashboards, integrate apps and databases, take advantage of IoT and more without needing to help from the IT department.

Business users with a deep understanding of the requirements can be directly involved in the ERP development process to ensure it solves their problems.

Customization, security and scalability assured

Modern development technologies are breaking down many of the walls that COTS and traditional development have created for businesses. By building ERPs using low-code platforms, the manufacturer has the ability to create the screens, views, filters, and dashboards they need to perform their functions instead of using a unique or obsolete solution. Custom ERPs are increasingly adoptable because different users can be granted different data rights based on their role and they only see what they need. Changes can be implemented faster and users can go live immediately.

Most low-code platform vendors allow you to control who can see, edit, share, or delete items and every action and event in the ERP system can be monitored as needed.

The SaaS-based platform lets you choose your model based on your organizational needs and easily scale up or down.

Opportunities for manufacturers and other businesses

Manufacturers can start using low-code development platforms to extend their legacy ERP solutions to increase capabilities and create an integrated solution or build custom ERPs from scratch that are highly modifiable, reliable, and scalable. A little training for a designated set of administrators will suffice to develop and test new applications. API integration provided by leading low-code platforms is another powerful capability that enterprises can leverage to create unified processes, integrating with legacy and industry applications, cloud-based applications, and applications and specially designed databases.

While a disruptive environment continues to shape how businesses operate, a low-code ERP system once established can mean little or no change needed in underlying business processes while providing maximum return on investment.

By Divyesh Kharade, Co-Founder and CEO, DronaHQ