The term “collaborative ERP” describes enterprise resource planning software that incorporates social application capabilities. Access to social media data has been transforming marketing, customer service, and human resources departments for several years, but the financial and operational core of traditional ERP systems has been significantly less affected to date.
Collaborative ERP is based more on the sharing of operational data than the incorporation of social media data, but its ultimate impact on organizations will be at least as transformative
- Collaborative ERP is largely dependent on a new generation of cloud technologies. It provides a level of easy, pervasive access to operational data that will finally deliver on the long-held promise of ERP as a cost-effective transformer of business processes. It will also deliver on the newer promise of the social networking software on which collaborative functionality typically is based. It is the integration of social communications with a central ERP database, making the communications part of the system of record.
- Early adopters of collaborative ERP can gain from faster supply chain communications and processes, closer customer relationships, more financially informed departmental decisions, leaner operations, and closer interdepartmental communications. However, legacy ERP applications may be rigid and expensive or too impractical to adapt to new collaborative capabilities. Many organizations will be challenged to develop a next-generation system mindset and migration strategies. The availability of more information in a relevant work context, easy access for employees as well as customer and supplier users, and a streamlining of communications channels and applications used will be key benefits available to almost all organizations.
- Startups, or disruptive vendors, are positioning themselves to either provide an omnibus or extended ERP application or to replace core production functions. Their early, typically smaller customers are newly installing ERP or are completely replacing outdated systems.
Leading vendors such as SAP and Oracle and their large-organization customers are looking to first augment their traditional ERP solutions with cloud-based systems for extended ERP functions and a grafting of social capabilities onto their established systems. This is what we call a two-tier strategy, before the market enables — and requires — full replacement.
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