Although the Internet of Things (IoT) was once a tech buzzword, it’s now a reality for businesses and people worldwide. IoT is the term for the network of of physical devices with internet access, which includes anything from mobile phones, to smart watches, to washing machines and even cars. Though IoT is already integrated into the daily lives of many, its impact is expected to grow in the next few years. Market reports suggest more than 42 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2022, meaning forward-thinking businesses can use IoT to their benefit.
From wearables, to connected cars, to mobile payments, businesses are already using IoT to adapt to the habits of today’s tech-savvy consumer. From a business standpoint, IoT devices record and transfer data to monitor important processes, offer new and robust insights, boost efficiency and allow companies to make more informed decisions. They offer a mutually beneficial opportunity for consumers and businesses, especially in the case of the modern retail transaction process.
IoT’s Impact on Data Creation
Take this scenario for example. Historically, a customer would bring a product to a checkout counter and pay with cash or credit card. Once that process was complete, a receipt was tendered, and the customer was out the door. The data trail stopped there. However, as technology advanced and consumers adopted connected devices, the transaction process changed. Today, customers can use voice assistants, mobile devices and wearables to complete a transaction, all of which present a greater amount of data than cash or card transactions. Businesses process credit cards by interacting with a near field communications (NFC) device, pushing purchase data to the local point-of-sales system, and communicating with a merchant bank or third-party security server for final authorization. However, unlike credit card transactions, transactions processed through an IoT-connected device move past authorizations to provide additional insights. These transactions are supported by local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) infrastructures that manage multipoint communications. Transactions involving connected devices reach many more touchpoints than ever before, creating additional data every step of the way.
When ERP Meets IoT
IoT-connected devices proliferate the amount of unstructured data generated by digital interactions. In fact, research from the International Data Corporation (IDC) shows that unstructured data accounts for 90% of all digital information. However, although unstructured data can provide a great deal of insight for businesses, it can be immensely difficult to interpret if not organized properly. This is where ERP systems can help businesses sort data and prime it for additional analytics. Though the mass amounts of data created by IoT devices might seem daunting for businesses to analyze, the key benefit of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is its ability to store, manage and analyze data generated by the entire organization. The insights gained from this data can provide value to businesses looking to improve their operations.
The Benefits of an ERP System
Without the capabilities of an ERP system, useful data can be hard to find. With IoT technology at play, businesses can collect mass amounts of data from a wide array of sources and gain actionable insights from it. An ERP system an excellent tool for businesses intelligence. ERP systems store mass amounts of data in a common database, allowing departments like customer management, human resources, business intelligence, financial management, and inventory and supply chain to benefit from the same information.
As the world becomes increasingly connected, businesses need effective methods to store, sift and leverage the data they amass. Now, more than ever, organizations of all sizes need to rely on data-driven insights in order to make decisions that drive growth and profitability. An ERP system delivers the right data, to the right people, when they need it.