Your ERP Needs To Speak with the Internet Of ThingsThu Nguyen
The next “big thing” in enterprise resource planning is going to be connectivity — namely, connectivity between your company’s ERP management platform and the Internet of Things, or IoT.
The Internet of Things, with its higher degree of integration between internal systems and the wider world of data and the cloud, is a phenomenon here to stay for major companies. Companies without an IoT strategy will quickly fall behind.
But more important, enterprise resource planning systems that don’t talk to IoT-connected devices will become hobbled in the next few years.
Some developers are addressing connectivity issues with companies that require their ERP software systems — which integrate all main business processes — to communicate with IoT-based applications.
Goal: improve business intelligence
“While ERP is at the heart of most businesses, these systems are traditionally limited because they only look at the data being managed inside the four walls of the company,” says Albert Behr, chief executive at BehrTech.
“The rise of IoT and wireless connectivity,” Behr says, “makes the secure and reliable gathering of mission-critical data across an entire value chain possible in real-time to improve business intelligence and provide new opportunities for operational efficiency and cost reduction.”
BehrTech specializes in next-gen wireless connectivity for industrial IoT devices. It recently announced a partnership with Orange Oranges, an Australian company that works on IoT and enterprise software integrations.
The joint venture is aimed at bringing new levels of transparency to ERP systems in manufacturing, energy and utilities, lumber, supply chain logistics, and transportation.
BehrTech owns a wireless connectivity platform called “My things” that expands and integrates IoT into any ERP system and leverages data from both new and existing sources.
My things can help businesses use multi-layer technologies to improve different aspects of their operations, including supply chain, logistics, and personnel management.
Wireless tech’s role
Many integrations require developers to work with partner firms that can enhance the levels of connectivity that are possible. Wireless will be important not just because it can connect mobile devices into both the IoT and ERP, but also because so much production machinery of the future, including next-generation robotics, will rely on it.
The challenge is to bridge the gap between information technology and operational technology within legacy systems and environments.
Most industry assets, machines, and facilities are not designed to connect beyond local plant networks, which creates huge data silos within companies. These so-called “brownfield plants” need to be turned into digital factories without absorbing the costs and complexities of reprogramming legal platforms.
An example: the mining industry, where there’s a demand for increased visibility on processes within harsh environmental conditions that prohibit the use of Ethernet cabling and where legacy wireless solutions won’t work. Yet the mining industry plans to rely more on robotics and remote solutions in the future.
IoT connectivity is bringing the ability to transmit critical data from machinery to remote operators and engineers who can analyze activity on a real-time basis, in harsh conditions and receive the sort of operational visibility that will avoid expensive production delays and over-ordering.
- Next-generation ERP platforms will require a much greater degree of connectivity with the Internet of Things.
- This will bring with is considerable advantages for companies, especially as they pursue more automation around their production lines.
- Part of the challenge will be adapting current machinery and processes to the new technology without the need to replace legacy plant before it’s required.
- Specialist developers are working to provide the sort of IoT connectivity companies will require to benefit from more automation and remote analysis while at the same time holding down costs.