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Definition: Postmodern ERP

Picture this. You’re in a clothing store, looking at the mannequins. Are you going to buy the exact same outfit the mannequin is wearing? Probably not: most people pick and choose pieces of clothing to fit their requirements and their personal style.
In the past, companies would buy the whole outfit (their ERP system) straight off the mannequin because that's what was available. The store only had a couple of options to choose from, and they weren't compatible with each other. But today's stores have hundreds of mannequins, and their outfits are interchangeable.
In art, "postmodern" refers to the belief that what we call the "objective truth" isn't so objective. Postmodern art critics might, for example, disagree with the notion that a landscape painting of the South of France is objectively "beautiful" because beauty itself is subjective.
So when we talk about "postmodern ERP," then, we're talking about challenging the idea that ERP systems are the only way to run a business of a certain size. Specifically, postmodern ERP challenges the notion that an ERP system has to be all-encompassing, instead suggesting that a modular approach is better.
Postmodern ERP is a technology strategy that automates and links administrative and operational business capabilities (such as finance, HR, purchasing, manufacturing, and distribution) with appropriate levels of integration that balance the benefits of vendor-delivered integration against business flexibility and agility.
Customers want shorter lead times and more customization. To provide this, your business needs to improve efficiency and productivity. Being able to choose the best solutions for your unique processes, and not be limited by vendors or compatibility issues, is a significant change from the all-in-one ERP systems of the past.
The ability to choose the best solutions for your unique processes also means that your unique processes are a competitive advantage. Your business processes are the way your business provides value. Being able to run your business exactly the way you want to—and choosing your business systems based on your unique requirements, not just what’s available on the mannequin—is the competitive advantage of the future. 
I just listened to a podcast about space exploration, and it occurred to me that the only way to achieve great things (like going to Mars or having self-driving cars for real) is to co-operate to a much greater extent than we’ve done before. The ISS would never have happened without co-operation between US, Russia and Europe. ERP providers of the future will have to co-operate with a variety of different systems. 
The software world is moving fast towards standardization and compatibility to a much higher degree. Clouds standardize how we package and run software. Microsoft has launched .Net Core, making it possible to run .Net based programs run on virtually any platform (Linux, MacOs etc.). Major companies like SAP and Microsoft (again) are setting a standard for how to communicate between systems with ODATA. There are many signs that everything is moving towards this layered, standardized and integrated setup that enables postmodern ERP.
If you're considering a switch to a postmodern ERP setup, you'll need a tool that can integrate all your systems together. Novacura Flow is your all-in-one tool for system integration, workflow management, data visualization, app development, and a whole lot more. Want to learn more about Novacura Flow? Click here.

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Posted by: Petter Larsson

Petter Larsson, Co-founder and Product Manager
Petter Larsson is the product manager and co-founder of Novacura. With long and extensive experience from working with ERP systems, both as project manager and as a systems developer, Petter is responsible for developing Novacura Flow.