Top Game-Changing Trends Facing Complex Businesses

Cincom Systems have been operating in Australia for over 40 years. In that time we’ve developed a solid foundation helping complex businesses solve their complex business problems with IT. We often find ourselves telling people we are experts in complex enterprises, but what are complex enterprises?

The official answer is “businesses that sell make manage and service highly engineered products or services based on customer-specific proposals, contracts or projects”.

The simple answer however, is if there is something non-transactional, not straight forward about the way your business operates. Complexity can occur in configurable and custom products and services, areas of high regulation and compliance standards, multinational organisations with various processes, businesses that structure work around projects or contracts and more.

In Australia some of the common industries that feature complex businesses include;

  • Industrial equipment and machinery
  • High technology, electronics and medical devices
  • Construction & HVAC
  • Defence & Ship Building
  • Infrastructure Services & Utilities
  • Financial Services

According to our latest survey of complex businesses in Australia, we found the following top game changing trends facing complex businesses:

3D Printing

This is not a new technology, but over the past few years, 3D printing has developed into a real alternative to the traditional casting or machining of parts and now has a real potential to disrupt many of the notions we have about manufacturing and plant operation. Some high-growth industries for 3D are: medical devices, automotive, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and aerospace markets – all part of the complex manufacturing landscape.


Incorporating Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) sales functionality into traditional ERP systems enables businesses to create advanced product configuration guides designed specifically for complex, customised products. These configuration guides, coupled with  dynamic, real-time pricing calculations tied directly into company financial systems, extend traditional core ERP functionality and ensure fast, accurate quotes. CPQ capabilities integrated with ERP functionality provide customers with exactly what they ordered in a much more timely manner than with traditional, siloed systems.

Mobile Device Use for Operations and Warehouses

Mobile is already in ERP. Smartphones are connecting field sales to back-office apps, and tablets are being used in field service to help with diagnostics, part inventory and schematics for complex products. But what about on the shop floor?

Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research, cites three specific areas where mobility delivers potential advantage:

  1. safety, quality or compliance
  2. information delivery
  3. approvals and routings

More and more, workers are being asked to perform multiple duties that require multiple applications and wide-ranging data access. Together with ERP, mobile devices are maximising the effectiveness of the employee and consequently the entire manufacturing operation.