Enterprise resource planning (ERP) has been implemented for decades across various industries in order to improve the efficiency of business processes – from product planning to manufacturing and from sales to inventory management. However, the recent rise of mobile technology, big data, cloud-based computing and other digital-related advances are transforming the field of ERP.

“ERP is now entering its third era, resulting in the end of the predictable ERP world of the past two decades,” noted a 2014 report by IT consulting firm Gartner.

Meanwhile, another global research company, International Data Corp., has forecast that the ERP software market will total $23.8 billion worldwide by 2018.

ERP professionals can expect to work in a fast-paced, cross-functional environment. In addition to being proficient in verbal and written communication, these individuals should have strong analytical and organizational skills, as well as the ability to find innovative solutions to various challenges.

Attaining a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems or a related discipline can provide individuals with an entry point into the field of enterprise resource planning. However, employers may prefer candidates with advanced degrees, such as a Master of Science in Information Technology with a Specialization in Enterprise Resource Planning.

Employers may also require candidates to be proficient with ERP software or have knowledge or experience relevant to a particular industry, such as healthcare, or to a particular business process, such as supply chain management.

Let’s explore a few of the potential career paths in the growing field of enterprise resource planning:

ERP Business Analyst

ERP business analysts must have a strong grasp of how potential ERP solutions converge with business needs and goals. Typically, these professionals assist with implementing and maintaining ERP systems, with responsibility for business systems analysis, workflow analysis and technical communications.

Specific job duties can include:

  • Developing and implementing ERP solutions
  • Customizing and configuring workflow to facilitate ERP integration with other applications
  • Identifying and troubleshooting issues with ERP systems
  • Producing user guides

The annual starting salaries of ERP business analysts in the United States range from $87,500 to $124,500, according to the 2015 Salary Guide published by Robert Half Technology, an IT staffing company. That represented a 6.5% increase over the previous year.

ERP Technical/Functional Analyst

An ERP technical/functional analyst may act as a liaison between technical support staff and end users, including through providing expertise and guidance relating to ERP systems.

Typical job duties may include:

  • Upgrading and/or implementing ERP software solutions
  • Troubleshooting to differentiate between user and system errors
  • Identifying how multiple applications interface with each other and with an entire system
  • Analyzing workflow, process improvement and business practices to streamline operations

ERP technical/functional analysts earn annual starting salaries ranging from $94,750 to $132,000, an increase of 5.5% over 2014, according to Robert Half Technology’s 2015 Salary Guide.

ERP Technical Developer

ERP technical developers may have responsibility for recognizing and evaluating potential problems within ERP systems, and developing and implementing appropriate responses to resolve those issues. They may also be tasked with upgrading enterprise resource planning systems in conjunction with evolving business needs and organizational processes.

Daily job functions can include:

  • Analyzing and testing ERP-related functions
  • Developing and maintaining project plans for ERP system enhancements
  • Interdepartmental collaboration to ensure that ERP solutions complement  organizational priorities

As of 2015, the annual starting salaries for ERP technical developers range from $99,750 to $136,750, according to the 2015 Salary Guide published by Robert Half Technology. That equates to a 5.3% increase over the 2014 starting salary range.

Numerous factors play a role in determining potential salary ranges and employment opportunities, including local market conditions, and a candidate’s work history and educational qualifications. As a result, prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research.

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