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“Smart Technology Popping Up Everywhere” by Debbie Wilson

by Debbie Wilson  |  April 26, 2019  |  Comments Off on “Smart Technology Popping Up Everywhere” by Debbie Wilson

There’s been a big project underway at my house this month.  A local outfit is installing a bank of solar panels on the roof.  Due to my home’s sunny location, I expect my home will make a net contribution to the power grid most days that the sun shines!

To complement the solar panels, my husband purchased a “smart” monitor that analyzes our electricity usage.  This monitor leverages pattern recognition and machine learning to identify and profile the power hogs that live in my home.  Apparently a refrigerator has a different power consumption pattern than a clothes dryer!   Hopefully the insight will guide us to upgrade our hungriest appliances and systems. 

Before this decade is out, I bet my home will sport a dozen or more devices with some sort of embedded “smart” technology.  If I count all of our mobile phones we may be there now!  If my home holds this many unique smart machines, imagine what the application portfolio for the enterprise will look like in just a few years.

Application vendors are building chatbots into customer service applications, procure-to-pay suites and HR service delivery solutions.  AI is appearing as feature in many ERP suite modules.  Blockchain –like capabilities are popping up in solutions for contract life cycle management and supply chain finance.  Application leaders are clearly facing more and more complex portfolios.  Is this smart machine proliferation really a good idea?

Well, what is the alternative?  An organization could buy a single AI engine, chatbot solution or IoT suite to have that one thing for all to know, love and support.  It could be a toolset that comes with a large integrated suite – think Infor Coleman or SAP Leonardo.  Or these tools could be an add-on that sits on top of the various, heterogeneous business applications.  This approach however requires centralization and commitment to a single platform.  Getting one suite that does it all has forever been a challenge with serious drawbacks.

Wrestling with dynamics like these isn’t new.  We’ve been arguing best-of-breed versus suite for as long as I can remember.  I think our arguing days are far from done.  We are just coming headlong into a new wave of technologies that we’ll need to knit into our portfolios.   In the meantime, it sure makes me smile to do something to minimize my impact on the environment.

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Category: applications  erp  

Deborah R Wilson
Managing Vice President, ERP Strategy Team
12 years at Gartner
20 years IT industry

Deborah Wilson, a recovering Gartner research analyst, leads the Gartner ERP strategy research team. Read Full Bio

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