Enterprise 2.0: The necessary, complementary and inevitable future for ERP
It think it’s fair to say that Epicor was amongst the very first ERP
companies to begin delivering Web 2.0 concepts as actual beneficial
capabilities within our products with the launch of our Epicor 9 Next-Generation ERP solution in December 2008. One of the earliest to coin the phrase and make sense of Web 2.0 was Tim O’Reilly
who noted “Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry
caused by the move to the Internet as a platform, and an attempt to
understand the rules for success on that new platform.” All good stuff,
but one of my favorite and particularly straight forward definitions of
Web 2.0 is “applications that embrace the internet, rather than fight
the internet,” which comes from Epicor’s own executive vice president of
worldwide R&D, Paul Farrell.
In the 20 months since the release of Epicor 9 ERP, Epicor’s product
marketing and technology research teams have continued to look hard at
the potential for modern internet technologies that cannot just harness
the power of collaborative participation, but can actually make ERP
software easier and potentially more fun [sic] to use.
Today, Epicor has a detailed and strategic roadmap for delivering on
an Enterprise 2.0 strategy. So how do we get from Web 2.0 to Enterprise
2.0? One of the Enterprise 2.0 definitions I like and feel effectively
describes our strategy here is from Ross Dawson:
“Enterprise 2.0 is the application of Web 2.0 and other emerging
technologies to enhance organizational performance within companies, or
between companies and their partners or customers.”
In basic terms as far as Epicor sees it, getting to Enterprise 2.0 is based on the following:
- SOA, which delivers the ultimate framework for managing business logic and business rules.
- Web 2.0, which delivers the ultimate framework for beneficial interaction between people and software.
- Next-Generation ERP,
which delivers the ultimate business benefit through the combination of
SOA and Web 2.0 to create the pay-back on Enterprise 2.0: business
agility and innovation.
Epicor ICE Business Architecture
At the heart of our strategy for Enterprise 2.0 is the Epicor ICE Business Architecture,
a next generation platform that incorporates consumer Web concepts to
create an innovative business Web solution. Epicor ICE introduced Epicor
True SOA™ and the Epicor Everywhere™ Framework, along with an
investment in Web 2.0 usability, to offer forward looking companies a
business architecture for tomorrow.
In fact, Epicor ICE does more than that. It effectively merges SOA
and Web 2.0 to create a single next-generation platform to support the
demands of modern businesses. This doesn’t mean that we are embedding Facebook or
providing our customers with the opportunity to have a Second Life
within Epicor ERP, but what it does mean is that we are exploiting both
the social and technical aspects of Web 2.0 technologies for business
benefit. If you simply consider the last time your bought a book on-line
or purchased a song on iTunes or went out to try Twitter
for the first time, you just knew how to do it, you didn’t need to be
taught how to use Amazon.com for instance. With Epicor ERP, we are
reflecting many of the self-evident technologies that we all use today,
collectively called Web 2.0, within our business applications as well.
Some of these concepts that are manifested today or planned for
inclusion within Epicor ERP include: Enterprise Search, Presence and
RSS, Composite Applications (Mashups), Wikis/Folksonomies, Rich Internet
Applications (RIA), Data Tagging, Activity Streams, Collaboration and
Engagement Platforms, and Contextual Metadata.
What does this mean for users, for our customers? It means an
enterprise facility that promotes greater collaboration between users,
internal teams and with supply-chain partners. It means unprecedented
ease of you and access to information. And it means lifting ERP up to
join with and exploit the rest of the tools and technologies we simply
take for granted. In order to do this, we need a modern technology
platform, and that is Epicor ICE.
Enterprise 2.0: A Business Necessity
All of these things are possible due to the fundamental design
approach to Epicor ERP, which supports business process modeling through
its service-oriented design approach, of which Gartner stated
“The architecture of Epicor 9 makes it the closest solution to a
model-driven packaged application available today,” in their Magic
Quadrant for Midmarket and Tier 2-Oriented ERP. This advanced
architecture, which fuses SOA and Web 2.0 is exactly what’s needed to
help bring the benefits of these technologies to the business, because
as far as Epicor is concerned Enterprise 2.0 is not just the latest
buzzword it’s a necessary, complementary and inevitable future for ERP.
Posted by James L. Norwood, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Product Marketing, Epicor