ERP Social Media Trends

An interesting discussion on ERP social media was raised on a webinar the other day. The topic of the discussion was how companies are building out their knowledge bases for their constituent communities. Specifically, how do you share captured knowledge to people external to an organization?

This lead to a discussion of the methods of communication that people use now. These methods, as you know, are typically through portals, email, and more-and-more are focusing on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Most 18-year-olds today do not use the phone. Rather the prefer to only use text or Instant Message (IM) as their way of communicating. Customer service and help desks need to accomidate these new technologies. ERP and CRM tools needs to evolve to support the move towards social media as a communication channel. There is suddenly a wave to move towards a socialization of business communication, as well as business to consumer messaging.

ERP Social Media is happening now

There are now cases where entire companies are losing their email system in support of a social media style of communication. It is instant, open, secure, and adds value beyond traditional email. Can you imagine email being called a legacy application? Well it is becoming one.
ERP Social Media
Software such as (a cloud based CRM) is now focusing heavily in social media as the conduit for business communications. Their Chatter tool is a secure, internally facing, twitter-like application that provides instant user communication and notification on key business events from data updates. Users can choose who and what to follow.

Businesses are moving to ERP Social Media tools. Companies such as Bank of America are using twitter as a support desk tool, with twitter feeding their case management solution and replies posted on the case show up as direct messages to the twitter user. This is one example of how public and ERP social media tools are merging together.

With the use of open APIs (interfaces), Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and other types of ERP based applications can be merged with ERP Social Media.

For example, an HR department could use Linkedin as a direct source for their candidate recruitment efforts and pull date directly into their HRMIS solution.

Moving from Legacy to ERP Social Media

With most mainstream ERP software solutions, the source of the data is human data input. EDI, once the method of electronic communications to a Purchasing system are so out of date, yet persistently remain. Eventually we may likely see it evolve to some sort of XML SOAP message initiated by a user perhaps even in the form of a Tweet.

Most output is in the forms of reports or perhaps an email to a user. ERP business systems will need to be udpated to include posting a tweet or a similar ERP Social Media message to notify users of business events.

ERP solutions need to quickly move to this new messaging format. Most traditional ERP systems do not use text messages as a data source, much less even a Twitter post.

This needs to change quickly to support the next generation of students and users. Kids entering college will graduate in four short years. When they enter the workplace, they will find creative ways to make ERP Social Media work for them, with or without the support of the ERP software vendors.

We welcome your comments on this topic as it will soon become a real issue in enterprise business software.

Is SaaS for You?

We often get the question is SaaS a tool we should use. This is a broad topic, so we did some research and came up with a set of answers to this query:

SaaS is software that’s delivered as a service, from a ‘cloud’ which could be a data centre based anywhere. Much like water comes to the home or office. You open the tap, the water pours out, you pay for what you use. You don’t own the reservoir or the pipes that bring the water to you. Will this model in the case of software?

The phenomenon of information growing exponentially affects all businesses, from SMEs to large enterprises. Operating environment becomes more complex with new sets of risks associated with managing and sharing large amounts of information.

Today’s fast, targeted, silent threats take advantage of the open network and new technologies that support an increasingly mobile workforce. Organizations need innovative approaches to protect the web, email servers and endpoint. The challenge is to find an easy-to-implement solution that avoid the cost and upheaval involved in installing new network infrastructure.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is the next evolution in how companies use and pay for software. Some say it’s the next step in the fulfillment of the technology “dialtone.” Executives and business managers want to understand the impact of SaaS to their bottom line, business model structure, and real-time operation requirements.

SaaS 100 Success Secrets: How Companies Successfully Buy, Manage, Host and Deliver Software as a Service (SaaS)

Dr. Timothy Chou was an early pioneer in delivering SaaS when he launched Oracle’s efforts in 1999. Over the past 10 years he has written several books, including The End of Software. He has also lectured and advised numerous companies on this significant shift in the software business. Most recently, he authored the book Seven, which discusses seven fundamental business models from the traditional to the Internet. Chou shares with Inner Circle readers his opinion on SaaS and its potential impact on how companies do business — today and in the future.

Dr. Timothy Chou (TC): Cost is certainly an executive concern. No matter what industry you’re in, your IT budget is dominated not by the cost of computers but by the cost of people — people who are managing the performance, availability, security, and maintenance of the software you’ve purchased. As a general rule, if you take your software purchase price and multiply it by four, that’s what you’ll spend to manage that software, per year. This translates to easily 75 percent of your budget being tied up in managing existing software systems.

There’s no consensus on the term quite yet, even though the concept is sufficiently proven by now that it ranks as a legitimate alternative to licensed applications that are typically deployed inhouse and managed with internal IT staff. Software as a service, or SaaS, seems to have a slight edge in the name game, so we’ll go with that.

There are a couple of technology basics associated with SaaS. The first is that in most cases the system you access remotely will be available over an ultra-high-speed, secure Internet connection (or, alternatively, via a virtual private network, which for all intents and purposes amounts to the same thing).

One of the biggest technology benefits of a hosted solution is that it can inherently provide a platform for a “services-oriented architecture,” or SOA. This is a way to enhance the functionality of a system using external “services” available via the Internet, rather than coding all system functions internally. There is no direct relationship between SaaS and SOA, but if your SaaS solution is designed to take advantage of it, that can be a benefit in providing add-on functionality.