Finance Prediction: Toward An “Intelligent Ecosystem”

Julien Delvat

In the past few years, we’ve witnessed the introduction of foundational innovations, and have seen firsthand organizations transform their old enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems into the digital core and the “intelligent enterprise.” I believe that within the next five years, the scope will get wider rather than deeper, moving towards an “intelligent ecosystem.”

Recent innovations ran deep

Over the last five years, innovations have revolutionized the core of the ERP by:

  • Leveraging the performance of an in-memory database
  • Simplifying transaction-data storage and optimizing throughput in finance and logistics
  • Redesigning integration through the cloud
  • Embedding predictive and machine learning capabilities within key processes
  • Enhancing the user experience

The limits of fast-paced innovation

While the breadth of innovations delivered in such a short time is impressive, it is limited by the rate at which organizations can adopt and adapt to this foundational change. Early adopters have an easier path to upgrade, yet all customers will need to redesign their business processes to get the most out the new features and functions. After deploying ERPs and managing change, some organizations feel the “project fatigue.”

In addition, IT environments have reached incredible levels of complexity due to numerous mergers and acquisitions, customization, or changing business models. With so many systems to replace, there is less value to be found in a single system upgrade than in rethinking their integration. The real value lies in ERP networks.

From deep to wide

Many industries rely on a network of partners, either separate divisions, subsidiaries, or independents, for their vertical and horizontal integration. For instance, the automotive and high-tech industries benefit from specialized suppliers to provide just-in-time parts and components. This competitive advantage is usually the result of a long history of partnership and painstaking integration efforts.

What if this network of real-life connections were recreated as server connections? What if these integrated ERPs could handle all regular transactions on their own and rely on human intervention only for exceptions? What if all companies could easily benefit from such tight integration, out of the box?

To achieve this goal, two characteristics need to be met: security and trust.

The good news is technology components are ready for the job. For instance, smart contracts can store, verify, and self-execute rules without an intermediary. Relying on blockchain ensures decentralized execution, immutability, and fair information. Thanks to smart contracts and blockchain, organizations will soon be able to integrate even tighter with their trusted partners, beyond the boundaries of their existing landscape.

In short, we can predict that over the course of the next few years, we shall see a broader integration across systems through innovations like blockchain.

This article originally appeared on SAP.com and is republished by permission. For more on this topic, please read “Smart Contracts With Blockchain: New Foundation For Binding Legal Agreements.”


Julien Delvat

About Julien Delvat

Julien Delvat brings over 16 years of experience delivering innovative SAP solutions for organizations across the globe spanning industries such as consumer products, automotive, and high tech. He is responsible for managing TruQua’s practice and solution portfolio for SAP S/4HANA, providing clients with industry guidance, roadmap strategies, implementation insights, and best practices on their financial transformation and optimization journeys with SAP S/4HANA, SAP S/4HANA Cloud, and SAP Central Finance. Julien is well-known in the SAP market for the knowledge he shares as an SAP Mentor, blogger, speaker, volunteer, and panelist at industry conferences. He recently co-authored the book on “SAP Central Finance.” He has worked with a variety of companies guiding them through the enterprise digitalization process, empowering knowledge workers, modernizing IT infrastructure, teaching the workforce how to utilize their data, and providing superior user experiences.