How ERP Software Can Make Your Business More Connected
At times I feel like the business world is simultaneously becoming more connected and less connected. Technology has revolutionised the business world in numerous ways, such as breaking down geographical and language barriers. This opens up enormous potential for business to be done on a scale unlike any generation before us. However, poor use of technology can also breed habits of anti-socialness which can cause us to miss out on innovation resulting from collaboration.
Remember what it was like to go out for lunch with a group of people and have each other’s undivided attention. You would gain valuable industry insights and often come up with some truly great business ideas. Nowadays, you take it in turns to answer important calls, reply to urgent emails, and squeeze in fragmented conversations between mouthfuls.
This may seem like a small price to pay for what we have gained in return. However, if your business doesn’t harness the value from each other’s experiences and expertise, alongside using effective technology, then you run the risk of being left behind in a world that is starting to embrace greater collaborative business practices.
By utilising effective tools you can fill the collaboration void and also improve inter-company knowledge sharing.
Encouraging a culture of collaboration and team alignment is one of the great modern business challenges. This is why companies across the country hold team building days and hire business coaches to help them foster this type of environment.
For me, collaboration can begin with simply having a system that makes working together easy.
For example, if your enterprise resource planning (ERP) software allows for sales and marketing to work together in pursuit of a mutual revenue goal, or supply chain and logistics to work together on demand planning, then surely this should be the focus.
If you have been a user of ERP technology for as long as I have, then you can be forgiven for viewing it as a fundamentally transactional system. However, modern ERP systems have evolved to become a more intuitive and flexible application than what they once were.
Think of what we as business people have learned from social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The concept of following thought leaders and liking and commenting on posts is now being used in social ERP applications where users can follow customers and comment on tasks and activities.
Now, pause for a moment and think about how much valuable business information and helpful insights are sitting somewhere in your email inbox. Email threads and reports as attachments are lost opportunities for others to learn from history and reduce the likelihood of repeating mistakes.
Alternatively, when employees are put in front of a user friendly social ERP system, they are likely to embrace the opportunity to engage in such a platform and join the conversation.
An Aberdeen Group report identifies that businesses with social ERP functionality are 57% more likely to be able to support continuous improvement teams and are 145% more likely to have real-time collaboration across departments and divisions.
If your business can get the collective team input on a project without the need to wait for the next meeting, then this is a testament for using technology which drives efficiency.
Social ERP solutions
Social ERP functionality doesn’t just empower organisations to collaborate between internal departments; it can also open the door to valuable conversations with customers and suppliers.
To enable our customers to build a social enterprise, the latest version of Epicor ERP includes a social media platform.
Epicor Social Enterprise (ESE) provides the capacity for social media styled communication and collaboration between non-ERP users, customers, and partners. Integrating social media into the ERP system in this way alleviates the two main issues that typically exist with traditional solutions.
1. Any knowledge and information that exists in ESE is then integrated into the central data management system and is contextualised with corporate data. This allows for the data to be searchable without having to crawl through information in a third party system to find what you are looking for.
2. As the social platform exists as part of the ERP software, it is therefore automatically controlled by the existing IT protocols.
If businesses use the right technology in the right way, then it doesn’t mean their teams will be less connected than years gone by, quite the contrary. Through using technology as a function to enable greater human behaviour, the sky is the limit!
Posted by Vince Randall, Regional Vice President, Epicor Software ANZ