What is Postmodern ERP: Definition and Role in Modern Business

Last Updated: September 27th, 2023
Researched and Written by: Lexi Wood

Postmodern ERP is a relatively new strategy for switching from traditional ERP systems to cloud-based business applications. It aims to balance administrative and operational duties better to meet continuously evolving business needs.

Defining Postmodern ERP

Originally coined by Gartner back in 2013, this term was used to describe the then-emerging trend of companies moving away from traditional and monolithic ERP systems in favor of cloud-based networks. It’s primarily been adopted by larger organizations, although complex small and mid-size businesses are starting to come around as well.

In short, postmodern ERP is a departure from singular ERP software to create more customizable systems.

Characteristics of Postmodern ERP

Modular Structure

Postmodern ERP systems are designed with a modular structure, where various functional modules operate independently but can seamlessly integrate with each other. This provides:

  • Cost-Efficiency: Since postmodern ERP lets businesses select and implement only the modules they require, upfront costs are drastically reduced.
  • Better Customization: Modular ERP allows businesses to tailor their software to meet specific needs, ensuring a better fit for their unique processes.
  • Faster Implementation: Implementing individual modules is typically faster and less disruptive than deploying an entire monolithic ERP system.

Flexibility and Scalability

Postmodern ERP solutions offer both flexibility to adapt to changing business needs and scalability to accommodate continuous company growth.

  • Adaptability: Businesses can respond swiftly to market changes, regulatory updates, or shifts in strategy by modifying or adding modules.
  • Efficient Resource Allocation: Scalability ensures that resources are allocated proportionally to the business’s growth, optimizing operational efficiency.
  • Competitive Advantage: Flexibility enables innovation, helping businesses stay ahead of competitors by quickly implementing new technologies and functionalities…


The cloud-hosted format of postmodern ERP allows users greater accessibility from anywhere in the world, as long as there’s Internet access. It also provides:

  • Improved Scalability: As the business grows on the cloud, additional modules can be added without a major overhaul. Cloud solutions can effortlessly accommodate growth without investing in expensive, on-premises infrastructure.
  • Reduced IT: Cloud-hosting lowers in-house IT maintenance and hardware costs since it’s the developer’s responsibility to handle infrastructure management.
  • Automated Updates: Cloud-based software is typically updated regularly by the developer, usually on a set schedule. Timely updates ensure businesses always have access to the latest features and security enhancements.

Integration Options

Finally, postmodern ERP emphasizes integration capabilities, allowing seamless communication with other software and systems.

  • Streamlined Workflows: Integration with other business systems, such as CRM or eCommerce platforms, streamlines the flow of data. The ability to share across multiple systems reduces errors from manual data entry.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: This data sharing also fosters collaboration, leading to improved productivity and customer service. Users gain near real-time access to data across departments, enabling better decision-making.
  • Future-Proofing: The ability to integrate with emerging technologies, like IoT and AI, ensures that businesses remain adaptable in a rapidly evolving technological landscape.

Why is Postmodern ERP Important?

  • Agility and Innovation: Discuss how Postmodern ERP empowers businesses to quickly adapt to market changes and innovate.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Explain how modular systems can be cost-effective by allowing businesses to pay only for the functionalities they need.
  • Better User Experience: Describe how Postmodern ERP systems prioritize user-friendly interfaces and improved user experiences.
  • Real-time Data Insights: Highlight the ability of these systems to provide real-time data and analytics for informed decision-making.
  • Easier Collaboration: With global corporations becoming more and more common at every level of business, it’s critical that employees across every location can stay in touch and up-to-date through a cloud-based platform.

Postmodern ERP Challenges

There are limitations to postmodern ERP which keep businesses using the traditional model:

  • Complexity: While postmodern ERP systems are meant to help with large-scale and complex operations, there are situations where it can make things even more complicated. Adding in more and more separate systems can lead to data duplication and loss.
  • Data security: Related to the increase of complexity is the threat to data security. Going to an entirely cloud-based system can expose data to more online threats than a single, on-premise ERP solution.

Since postmodern ERP is relatively new, it’s likely to change. Here are some emerging trends to watch:

  • Hybrid deployment models: Expect to see ERP mixing some cloud flexibility with on-premise data security.
  • Blockchain technology for security: In addition to security, blockchain can provide greater business transparency.
  • AI and machine learning integrations: Expect these technologies to be fully integrated into new ERP systems.

These trends, driven by technological advancements, reflect the ever-changing needs of businesses in an increasingly digital world. Organizations that embrace these trends early can gain a competitive edge by improving operational efficiency, decision-making, and customer experiences.

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