As technology advances, our world is becoming more and more connected.  As recently as just a few years ago, the Internet of Things (IoT) was a theoretical concept. Now, it’s more than a reality, it’s becoming the standard.  Through technology people are connecting with other people, people are connecting with things, and things are connecting with other things.  The IoT is connecting objects and environment to people and enabling visibility and innovation while enhancing decision-making in organizations.

IoT is already gaining popularity in the consumer world as a way to make day-to-day life easier.  From smart cars & smart TVs, to fitness trackers that input data directly to your smartphone, these “things” are already interconnected and part of your daily routine.  It’s no surprise then that these trends are making their way into the business world.  IoT technology, together with ERP has the ability to interconnect your entire manufacturing floor with the rest of your business.  This can not only benefit process management but also help eliminate inefficiency and strengthen relationships with customers.  There is huge potential in the data that IoT and ERP technology can generate.

What Is The Internet Of Things (IoT)?

Simply put (or at least as simply as possible) the IoT uses the growing accessibility of Broadband Internet and Wi-Fi capabilities to connect “things” to the Internet or to each other. It is a fusion of all physical peripherals like software, sensors, electronic items, etc. with internet and machine enabling data collection and transfer.  The ability to access the Internet is no longer reserved exclusively for computers, smartphones, and tablets.  Things like coffee-makers, washing machines, light switches, vehicles, houses, televisions… we’re seeing more and more products become “smart,” wi-fi enabled devices.  In a way, by connecting devices to other devices, and people to devices through the Internet, the IoT acts as a bridge between the physical world and the digital world.

Just as the IoT allows consumers to create smart homes that turn their coffee makers on as soon as their alarm clock goes off, IoT and ERP will give users total control and oversight of their business.  Even if the user isn’t on the shop floor because Internet-enabled devices can broadcast to anyone, anywhere with an Internet connection, in real-time.  IoT technologies also allow for improved delivery times and production quality in addition to lean scheduling capability.

The IoT And Big Data

The IoT and big data are clearly interconnected.  Billions of “things” connecting to the internet will, by definition, create massive amounts of data.  Big Data is characterized by the four “V”s: volume, variety, veloc, ty and veracity.  Meaning, that there’s a lot of data, both structured and unstructured, arriving very quickly (often in real time), and can be of uncertain provenance.  As we talked about in a previous blog post, this information requires tools like Business Intelligence platforms to make sense of it all.

As the world becomes more connected by the IoT, there emerges big data.  However, as the sheer amount of data multiplies exponentially, businesses will need to find advanced and faster ways to drive insights and better decision-making.  The key is to find actionable metrics and to drill down to the statistics that affect business costs and can be used to grow revenue.

The IoT And ERP

The IoT brings lots and lots of new data to the table, and that data will need to be collected, processed, analyzed, and utilized in an efficient way by ERP software.  The ERP system becomes essential to organize the unstructured data from individual devices with structured business data from the ERP system.  The ERP system must be able to manage, analyze and display all the data in real time.

As ERP systems advance to utilize emerging technologies, they increasingly perform many information processing tasks imperative to your business.  Augmenting your ERP with IoT by adding more sensors and access to greater controls can put you on the road to automating and integrating every aspect of your business.

The next revolution in enabling ERP solutions to gather more information faster and more accurately than ever before will come through leveraging the IoT and Big Data.  At its simplest level, rather than relying on people to communicate information to the system, the IoT will enable ERP systems to gather data directly from the machines that are either performing or observing the work.  The potential of the IoT is in leveraging all of that data-gathering power to improve the quality, accuracy, and speed of information gathering for ERP- all while driving the cost of information gathering down. With IoT-enhanced ERP, even complex situations can be detected and managed, freeing management to handle more strategic issues.

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If you need help deciphering big data or are looking to take advantage of the power of the IoT and ERP, get in touch with an expert at ACC today!

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