Cloud Analytics – Top Predictions for the ERP Software Industry in 2020

Analytics come of age

We are often asked for our opinion on the future of the software industry. As the UK’s centre of expertise for SAP cloud offering Business ByDesign we are ideally placed to advise mid-sized business on their choice of ERP for 2020. It is our belief that the year ahead will belong to analytics.  Whichever ERP you decide on, you will want to make sure that there is at least a basic level of analytics on board. You might even want to invest in something that goes beyond attractive displays and gives you the ability to predict and explain – and of course it will all be in the cloud.

The days of reporting what has already happened are over. So let’s take a look at some of the Key Trends.

 Self Service

Self service analytics means you can get your hands on story-based visualisations of your data without needing to be a data specialist. Business leaders can interrogate their data themselves, bringing up a host of reports in highly usable and customisable formats. As a result many businesses no longer need IT teams to get hold of their data.


Business have long reaped the benefits of cloud in terms of access and cost but it also enables you to be more data-driven than ever before.  An on-premise solution inevitably means slow access by which time data is often out-of-date.

Predictive analytics

Predictive analytics are changing everything and giving early adopters a serious advantage.

Business leaders with predictive analytics onboard are able to make better decisions by interacting with visualizations, drilling down for more detailed information, and answering business questions on the fly.

The power of cutting-edge machine learning is being combined with big data sets to create insights around past, present and future scenarios.

Products like SAP Analytics Cloud for example, alongside many other offerings from the major technology players are now widely available to give advanced analytics capabilities to users of ERP.

Embedded analytics continue to have their place

A quick word here about embedded analytics dashboards and KPIs which come as part of an off the shelf ERP product. These still very much have their place. The key benefit is that users get good cost-effective insights from focused data which allows them to make the right kind of decisions, without being overwhelmed.

Case Study: SAP Analytics Cloud

SAP Analytics Cloud’s machine learning technology augments the analytics process, helping you go from insight to action in a fraction of the time. Automated technology enables you to avoid agenda-driven and biased decision making by revealing the story of what drives your business.

Built natively on SAP HANA Cloud Platform, SAP Analytics Cloud allows  business decision makers to visualize, plan and make predictions all from one secure, cloud-based environment.

Manchester City football club, the 5th most valuable football club in the world, uses SAP Analytics Cloud to enhance the fans experience. By accessing and analysing up to 10 years worth of data about the team and its players they can  evaluate trends over time, make direct player to player comparisons and create content which they can share with millions of fans via their website and social channels. The data is very much part of fans experience including the City Pulse Wall – an interactive display which allows fans to explore statistics about the team and individual players as part of the match day experience. It all stems from Manchester City’s well-known commitment and reputation for being an innovative and forward thinking club.

Prediction for the future?

Watch out for prescriptive analytics – sometimes described as the final frontier of analytics – this will tell you WHY something happened and contains within it the greatest potential for adding value.

Meanwhile, don’t imagine that advanced analytics are just toys for the big boys – smaller business can benefit too – in fact there is no business that would not be enhanced by business analytics! There are many offerings in the market to choose from. Look out for something which is visually stunning with great story telling capabilities and above all intuitive and user-friendly. Happy Shopping!

A version of this article  written by Lucy Thorpe first appeared in ERP News