German small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are becoming more and more open to the cloud and the demand for cloud-based CRM and ERP applications is constantly rising. Doubts about data security are waning for many SMEs. At the same time, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will have an impact on developments in the CRM, ERP and cloud market in the coming year. Based on its own practical experience and expert forecasts, Konica Minolta has compiled a list of trends for SMEs in Germany in 2019.
1. Artificial intelligence (AI) components increasingly integrated in ERP and CRM systems
AI supports smart materials management in ERP systems. This enables companies to significantly improve their processes and work more efficiently and cost-effectively. AI-based applications can play an important role for medium-sized companies in the future, such as by generating improved procurement forecasts. In CRM, too, AI components can be used to automatically analyse new information about customers and use this for a targeted, personalised pitch to the customer. However, this theoretical potential and the measures based on it must be compliant with the GDPR. Microsoft is also focusing on a greater intermeshing of AI. The company’s first application examples specifically for SMEs are expected to be available in the second half of 2019.
2. Increasing relocation of ERP and CRM to the cloud
A growing number of companies are migrating their ERP and/or CRM systems to the cloud. Concerns about data security are diminishing. This is certainly also due to the fact that there have been no major security incidents so far. And the benefits of the cloud are obvious: a complex IT infrastructure becomes superfluous, allowing companies to significantly reduce their internal IT costs. At the same time, the cloud-based ERP and CRM systems can be accessed from anywhere and at any time, which creates additional flexibility and in turn leads to a further increase in the use of mobile devices. In addition, powerful cloud-based solutions enable companies to make forecasts and better analyse their business processes.
3. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) calls for a rethink in CRM
In many CRM systems, countless pieces of information from the past are still stored, which are not relevant to business. However, the GDPR means this data can now no longer be retained. This is why companies need to adapt their existing CRM systems. But since many companies are uncertain as to which data may be stored depending on usage and business area and which data must be deleted, there is considerable demand for consulting at present and in the near future.
4. Integration of everything
The Internet of Things is steadily growing. A large number of networked devices generate commercially relevant data – and the trend is rising. ERP and CRM systems will inevitably have to evolve in order to process this growing amount of data in a meaningful, efficient and automated way.
5. Hyperpersonalisation in CRM
Companies are increasingly relying on a highly personalised customer approach, which can be based on the analysis of, for example, business-related activities on the company website, their order history or the customer’s campaigns in social media. Data generated in this way is processed and analysed using AI. Unlike previously, the classification of target groups enables a completely individual approach with offers tailored exactly to the individual. In order not to fall into the GDPR trap, competent advice is also required in this area.
6. Improved data security
A growing number of cyber attacks and new requirements arising from the GDPR are making data security more and more important for companies. ERP systems can represent a major vulnerability within companies. This is where all of a company’s data is brought together. However, these systems have so far not been sufficiently secured. Meanwhile, German SMEs have recognised that there is a need to catch up in this regard, and are increasingly implementing ERP security as a fixed component of their IT security.