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Comparing Postmodern ERP Systems vs. Traditional ERP Systems

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have become essential for managing operations. As a promotional product distributor, you likely handle a high volume of customer orders, inventory management, marketing campaigns, reporting, and more on a daily basis. An effective ERP system integrates all of these vital functions to help you scale your business efficiently.

With the rapid advancement of SaaS technology in recent years, postmodern ERP systems have emerged to revolutionize legacy platforms. Upgrading could unlock game-changing performance and workflow improvements, but only if you understand the differences.

Related: What Is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)?

The History of Early ERP Systems

The origins of traditional ERP platforms date back to the 1960s when inventory management and order processing software first emerged. These early systems consolidated basic business processes but lacked flexibility and integration. By the 1990s, ERP expanded to incorporate more modules for functions like accounting, HR, CRM, and reporting.

What Is the Role of Traditional ERP in Enterprise Resource Planning?

The advent of traditional ERP brought tremendous value in centralizing information across departments within an organization. Sales teams could share customer data with accountants, marketers could analyze operational reports to adjust campaigns, and supply chain managers had visibility into inventory and orders.

This connectivity enabled sizable enterprises to eliminate business silos and optimize planning across units. It provided a digital transformation laying the foundation for scalability.

The Benefits of Traditional ERP Systems

While early ERP adoption focused on manufacturers, distributors soon leveraged these solutions to grow their operations:

  • Improved efficiency: By standardizing processes across locations and automating repetitive tasks like order processing and inventory updates, traditional ERP systems reduced redundant manual work.
  • Enhanced functionality: Traditional ERP consolidated multiple software tools into integrated suites encompassing CRM, accounting, HR, SCM, and more. This eliminated complex data reconciliation needs.
  • Informed planning and decisions: Traditional ERPs made operational data accessible across departments, powering analytical reporting for business insights.

How Did Traditional ERP Handle Operational Management and Order Management?

Early ERP platforms utilized purpose-built modules to handle core distribution needs. Major capabilities included:

  • Order management: Processing customer orders, generating pick/pack slips, updating inventory, and invoicing clients
  • Warehouse management: Tracking stock levels across locations, optimizing warehouse workflows, and planning inventory transfers
  • Transportation management: Managing shipping and logistics providers, printing labels, and tracking shipments
  • SCM + inventory: Maintaining visibility into supply levels, triggering restock purchase orders, and identifying fast/slow-moving items

By interlinking these functions, ERPs helped unify sales, fulfillment, and financials.

What to Know About Postmodern ERP Systems

As technology and predictive analytics have advanced over the past decade, a new generation of cloud-based, postmodern ERP platforms has emerged that builds significantly upon traditional solutions. For promotional product distributors evaluating the modernization of existing ERP environments, understanding postmodern ERP capabilities is essential to determine potential upgrade or migration strategies. Let’s examine what makes postmodern ERP systems unique.

Related: Exploring Various ERP System Types

How Does a Postmodern ERP System Work?

Postmodern ERP architecture shifts systems from on-premise servers to the cloud for enhanced accessibility, flexibility, and mobility. This supports remote usage across devices. Postmodern ERP also adopts an open API-focused approach allowing third-party integration.

For promotional product distributors, postmodern ERP systems now integrate more seamlessly with e-commerce platforms like Shopify or branded web stores through open API connections. This means customer-facing storefronts can pass orders, inventory data, and other information to back-office ERP platforms. The result is more embedded customer experiences within unified order journeys spanning marketing to fulfillment.

Related: Understanding Fundamental ERP Concepts

The Benefits of a Postmodern ERP Strategy

Upgrading from a legacy on-premise ERP to postmodern SaaS brings new advantages:

  • Cost savings: Cloud delivery reduces hardware investments and IT overhead for support/maintenance
  • Mobility: Manage operations on-the-go with tablet/phone access
  • Speed: Rapid implementation measured in weeks vs. months
  • Scalability: Cloud platforms easily adapt to business fluctuations
  • Upgrades: Automatic updates with the latest features

For global enterprises, multi-tenant SaaS also smooths international expansions without added infrastructure.

How Does a Postmodern ERP Compare to a Traditional ERP?

Beyond deployment method, postmodern ERPs reinvent modules like inventory, CRM, and business intelligence (BI) by incorporating emerging technologies:

  • Inventory optimization: AI now predicts orders and preferred stock levels based on historical data, reducing costs
  • Smart CRM: Automated lead scoring and next-best actions enhance sales
  • Embedded BI: Role-based dashboards with real-time data democratize analytics

User experience also drastically improves with consumerized designs. Personalized portals, drag-and-drop configuration of reports/workflows, and contextual help simplify use and reduce training time.

Unveiling Legacy Systems in ERP

Postmodern ERP strategies must still contend with legacy environments. Fully optimizing processes requires bridging modern and existing infrastructure.

The Connection Between Legacy Systems and Traditional ERP

First-generation traditional ERP systems now represent legacy environments in many distribution firms. Although they solved initial process coordination needs, limitations have emerged:

  • Limited connectivity with other applications
  • UIs not optimized for user experience
  • Lack of cloud accessibility or mobility

These factors make integrating new technologies challenging compared to purpose-built postmodern ERPs.

The Impact of Legacy Systems on ERP Software

In large enterprises, legacy systems often perform entrenched niche functions like production planning, labeling, or equipment maintenance. Integrating these with postmodern ERPs proves difficult due to data structure mismatches and hard-coded processes.

The resulting complexity leads to manual workarounds like exporting data for reconciliation. This dampens operational efficiency despite postmodern ERP rollouts.

Improving Legacy Systems with a Postmodern Approach

Instead of mass migrations, a staged postmodern strategy can maximize existing infrastructure:

  • API connectors: Interfaces allow postmodern platforms to exchange data with legacy ERPs
  • Microservices: Replace legacy functions with modular cloud services accessible by both ERP variants
  • Master data hub: Centralize product/customer data needed across systems

This sustains legacy operations while injecting efficiency, mobility, and flexibility.

The Importance of ERP Architecture in Modern Promotional Product Distribution

As postmodern ERP adoption accelerates, optimized architecture and integrations increasingly impact distribution success.

Facilitating Effective Data Management with ERP Architecture

Centralizing master data across postmodern and legacy ERP environments requires an architectural approach. Multi-layered frameworks with interconnected microservices enable accessibility to data entities like customers, products, orders, and inventory. With postmodern ERPs, data also remains better protected via cloud security capabilities not easily retrofitted into legacy on-premise systems.

The Role of ERP Architecture in User Experience

Effective postmodern ERP architecture must balance simplicity for users with functional depth across modules like SCM, CRM, and analytics:

  • Templatized dashboards, reporting, and workflows accelerate personalization
  • Contextual help and chatbots aid onboarding and productivity
  • Backend integration of artificial intelligence drives insights without added complexity

A strong architecture allows a consistent omnichannel customer experience across devices.

How Does ERP Architecture Support Business Intelligence Within an Organization?

The key to better decision-making lies in business intelligence — using data to reveal unseen patterns and insights that drive growth. The flexibility of postmodern architecture unlocks enterprise-wide intelligence.

By centralizing data, promoting open connectivity between systems, and leveraging affordable cloud storage, postmodern architectures make information widely accessible. The data from interconnected legacy and postmodern systems fuels deeper analysis and cross-functional reports. Teams gain further insight through expanded analytics capabilities and machine learning right in their workflows.

The end results are untapped growth opportunities and data-driven improvements across departments. Postmodern architecture effectively transforms disconnected data into organization-wide intelligence for the decision-dominant businesses.

How Facilisgroup Can Help

As a dedicated ERP partner for promotional product distributors, Facilisgroup builds technology to help you capitalize on postmodern strategies while optimizing existing infrastructure. Our tech-driven promotional product software Syncore integrates order processing, inventory and warehouse management, accounting, CRM, fulfillment logistics, and business intelligence modules into one platform. Additionally, Commercio and Amplifi extend capabilities for launching branded web stores rapidly and expanding staff skills to harness postmodern innovations.

We guide partners in implementing modular solutions that introduce efficiency while sustaining current operations. Our focus is bringing automation and standardization to your business to promote growth.

Contact us to learn more or schedule a demo.


What is postmodern ERP?

Postmodern ERP systems utilize cloud-native SaaS platforms with open API connectivity enabling nimble integrations across legacy infrastructure. They bring advantages like mobility, scalability, and embedded analytics.

How does postmodern ERP improve order processing?

Integration of order data across channels combined with inventory visibility and rules automation accelerates fulfillment. Orders placed on e-commerce sites interconnect with CRM and ERP for rapid processing.

What challenges still exist with postmodern ERP strategies?

The primary challenges involve integrating postmodern ERPs with existing legacy systems that may manage niche but essential functions. Data, APIs, and microservices help bridge technology gaps. Migrations should be staged, not rushed.