January 3, 2012

Social ERPs

A recent report from Forrester entitled Emerging Trends: Social Collaboration Is Poised To Accelerate ERP Business Processes sheds really useful light on the opportunity to integrate enterprise-scale applications more tightly and naturally into the fabric of an organization. Of course, as the sub-title of the report indicates, “It’s Early Days For Adoption,” but the trend is interesting, and important.

Social collaboration here is defined as the integration of collaboration and social technologies. It should be noted here that Convofy is the leading example of this emergent integration, since no other social platform offers a comparable level of collaboration. The anticipated value that Forrester sees in bringing social collaboration is the “gradual erosion and opening up of the traditional silos of business information” that is locked within enterprise apps.

Social Focus

There are may advantages in the prospective integration of Social and Enterprise platforms. The most important is the ability to provide a single focal point for updates, notifications, and recommendations within and beyond the domain of enterprise information. Rather than toggle between multiple apps, with a variety of interfaces and occasionally jarring context changes, enterprise users will be able to monitor their areas of interest in a more dynamic and relevant social environment.

And because the new focusing environment is social, unlike email, employees can get help interpreting updates and other notifications, and can arrive at resulting and decisive actions faster.

And if your environment for integrating enterprise information is collaborative, as it would be with Convofy, then your organization can effectively crowd-source its knowledge base to employees.

As the Forrester report points out, individuals benefit from social collaboration because it allows them to better keep on top of their job responsibilities, and it provides access to information that is relevant to their current task. For employees whose job responsibilities and typical tasks involve working with enterprise data, the integration of an organization’s ERP system with a social collaboration platform should be a boon in productivity and quality.

But there are challenges

As the report points out, these are early days. Some enterprise software vendors are making early forays into social technologies, and the report details some of these attempts. But for the most part, unless you use Convofy (more on this below), social collaboration hasn’t really arrived to enterprise information.

Forrester points to two trends that promise to hasten the integration. One approach is that “ERP vendors will embed a thin layer of ERP-specific social collaboration within their apps.” Frankly, this doesn’t sound promising because it implies that users will still be embedded in the exclusive domain of the enterprise app, without integration into other relevant sources of updates and notifications.

The other trend is that, “ERP vendors or third parties will bolt on non-app-specific social collaboration for customers to apply to ERP.” This sounds like a more fruitful path, because it gets outside the ERP-specific domain and enables integration across domains in a way that is centered on the employee, who must bring together diverse content to his or her tasks.

Convofy makes ERPs Social, now!

Organizations don’t have to wait for social collaboration solutions to emerge from ERP vendors, because Convofy can already fill that role.

Convofy is the first and only true social collaboration platform, integrating the social activity feed with both on-the-page collaboration and real-time messaging. ERP-provided social platforms are limited. For example, Chatter only works within Salesforce.com environments, or custom integrated platforms. When your organization uses Convofy, employees can collaborate and monitor activity across the full range of enterprise functions, and not be restricted to only those environments offered by ERP vendors.

Convofy is the only social platform that enables collaboration on web-based systems, right out of the proverbial box. Neither Chatter nor Yammer enables this kind of immediate return on social investment. This means that your enterprise systems are already enabled for social collaboration when you use Convofy. For more on how this works, see our post Collaboration for Socially-Challenged Enterprise Apps.

Let us know if we can show you and your organization the advantages of Convofy. Just drop us a note at sales@convo.com. We’d love to hook you up! Or navigate over to Convo.com and sign up your organization – you’ll be up and running, for free, within a couple minutes.

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