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Modern ERP And the Blurred Lines of Tiered Systems

ERP Tiers have always been a way to categorize the size and functionality associated with enterprise software. Historically, the lines have been clear as were the features, benefits, and capabilities that you gained with each separate tiered system. You were either a Tier 1 running a larger ERP system, a Tier 2/3 running one of the smaller systems or accounting software packages, or you adopted a multi-tier running a larger system with subsidiaries on smaller Tier 2/3 systems. If you found that your situation didn’t fall into any of those tiers, then you were likely running your business from spreadsheets.

ERP Systems

When you no longer fit in the box. The problem is that these classic tiers don’t take into account the modern-day business requirements and the fact that lines between tiers are becoming very blurred. It’s not so cut and dry as it has been in the past.

Nowadays we see that the needs of many Tier 2/3 customers are mirroring those of Tier 1 customers. Typically Tier 1 ERP was for businesses with large operations around the world, generally known to be expensive to install, maintain, and upgrade. Many Tier 2/3 customers these days have plants and facilities in multiple countries, they need easy access to ERP systems from anywhere and require mobility as well as transparency in real time beyond basic accounting systems, reporting, and data analysis.

Modern companies have unique business processes that require automation and functionality which no longer fits into the rigidity of these tiered systems. Without the ability to automate and modernize within ERP we see customers who are left having to turn to manual workarounds, expensive third-party bolt ons and layered integrations. These “silos” of technology drive up maintenance and service costs and slow down productivity and system performance, thus prohibiting growth and success of the overall business.

We need systems that are tier agnostic. Systems that support customers to quickly deliver new products and services, allowing them to get access to information quicker and automate new practices as regulations and policies change.

As a specific example, one Tier 2/3 system customer in the professional services industry had outgrown their solution and were faced with a challenge. Their current system was at the end of support and their only option was to migrate to the latest version. But this wasn’t a simple, standard upgrade. It would mean a re-implementation project which didn’t suit their needs as they were limited in resources and their vendor support had been poor. What they had implemented years ago no longer fit with their business needs or the reality of where their business was going. They needed a solution that would help them in an increasing competitive landscape, something that would assist them with their disjointed project and financial systems, and an answer to their heavy reliance on customizations and spreadsheets. They took the opportunity to explore Nextworld with the Nextbot development tool and fresh-looking applications.

For this customer it became clear that the benefits associated with no-code and a modern platform would relieve them of the limitations imposed by their previous solution. With Nextworld, the system automatically takes updates and applies them with no down-time and customizations are automatically merged with each upgrade. For this customer, it means that they are not going to get left behind any longer with outdated software or the expense of maintaining customizations.

What is really striking to me is that when users can develop their own applications through no-code platforms we actually see that businesses experience far less financial and internal resource strain. The results are phenomenal, a business will actually experience better growth because it is supported by ERP instead of limited by restrictions of rigid and aging systems.

The fact remains, when approaching your ERP system you can no longer conceptually fit it into a tier. To keep up with modern expectations and realities, adopting an integrated ERP solution, built using no-code development on a platform-first approach is the answer.