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


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