Andy Archer at Epicor looks into the IT requirements of the modern enterprise and how they can be addressed.
The enterprise world has experienced a true revolution in the last 10 years. New technologies and an explosion of data, as well as increased access to information and a demand for mobility have modified the way we work and the way we interact in the professional environment. There was a time when users had to adapt to enterprise IT tools – which were often static and limited by deployment constraints. The challenges are now completely reversed and today’s IT solutions have to answer the demands for interaction, collaboration, reactivity and mobility.
The rise of social business
With the development of social media and digital collaboration we are entering a new era of Social Business. This hails an entrepreneurial approach to business, built on technological innovation that facilitates collaboration and knowledge sharing, both internally and externally.
Social Business necessitates a shakeup of traditional IT solutions or enterprise management software which, up until now, have served as simple execution tools. IT is no longer just a means to process information and execute given tasks, it’s a tool that allows us to leverage an enterprise’s global vision, helping employees to work better, smarter and to share talents, skills and data on the way.
The foundations of enterprise collaboration
Participative innovation. Crowd sourcing. Collective intelligence. These concepts dominate a CEO’s vision today. I am not trying to say that the social era has created conversations and interactions that didn’t exist within organisations before. But putting pertinent IT solutions in place facilitates these interactions anywhere in the world, at any time. It also makes them more transparent, more efficient and more productive.
This level of collaboration can’t exist in enterprise today without an IT structure that is adapted AND adopted by users. In addition, if “socialisation” between employees, clients and suppliers is essential to the success of the modern enterprise, it also needs to be supported by adequate systems and applications. In our global survey about next-generation ERP systems, the majority of respondents considered collaboration via enterprise social networks as essential for the future of their business and especially beneficial (for almost 50% of users surveyed) for relationships with clients and partners. Yet only 10 per cent of respondents said that their current ERP system was able to exploit social media and thus add value to the business. There is clearly still work to be done.
Social ERP – the ideal tool for the social enterprise?
Social ERP aims to enable employees to integrate and/or interact with sources and data extracted from Enterprise Social Networks. Social ERP allows businesses to stay relevant and adjust to new demands that define the modern enterprise world, such as mobility, adaptability and responsiveness. Using social ERP, clients and employees alike can access an information exchange platform that nurtures collaboration and idea-sharing. Each social exchange and conversation can be stored or shared, allowing businesses to continue to add value, innovate and offer more competitive products and services as they grow.
Conclusion: the five major principles of modern ERP
A pragmatic approach is essential in the current professional environment and users must be at the heart of enterprise management solutions. An ERP solution is not a simple execution tool anymore. Instead, it’s an information exchange platform that suits its users and serves the commercial objectives of the businesses. Collaboration (thanks to information sharing applications and enterprise social networks), responsiveness (thanks to flexible and powerful applications), mobility (thanks to a solution accessible from multiple supports), choice (in deployment – on-premise, hosted, or via cloud), and simplicity (thanks to an intuitive interface completely in phase with users’ way of working) are the five main principles that ERP solutions should be built on today. These principles will continue to determine the evolution of ERP and shape businesses as they grow.