5 practical applications of social ERP

According to today’s most up-to-date definition from Dictionary.com; “social networking” represents the use of dedicated websites and applications to interact with other users, or to find people with similar interests to oneself.”

While this clearly egalitarian worldview directly applies in a host of personal environments, how does the description apply in a commercial sense, and more importantly, in the case of social ERP as a practical value mechanism? As discussed many times in the past, ERP platforms offer globally relevant and highly-active data repositories that can, in turn, be indexed and managed to produce additional reports and processes.

if you ask ten ERP managers what the practical application of social ERP is, you’ll get ten different answers

Consequently, the applied use of social ERP “should” make reasonable sense, since the systems are largely dependent on an active data interchange from the B2C level, thereby creating even more useful information downstream. However, if you ask ten ERP managers what the practical application of social ERP is, you’ll get ten different answers; so in the end what, and where, is all this beef being delivered?

1. Human capital management

ERP platforms integrated with social HR modules are quite useful, particularly when an enterprise is experiencing significant growth. Talent acquisition activities leveraging LinkedIn, Twitter, and others offer a constant personnel churn that can, in turn, be identified, validated, filtered and managed in order to identify more valuable enterprise candidates over time.

Recommended reading: ERP implementation - 11 steps to success

2. Collaborative innovation

ERP is often the central hub of many large scale projects. Whether these are procurement or engineering focussed, they benefit from tools which promote collaboration. This is where social ERP comes in.

Through collaborative workspaces, social ERP systems can promote interoperability between disparate global office locations or between departments at the same location. This can be achieved through real-time messaging systems, user profiles and document sharing.

3. Project team development

Following on from that point, social ERP project management offers a number of advantages when it comes to building a project team in the first place. ERP systems which give a user their own identity and network within the system allows them to identify fellow users which match the required skillset for a project. On a cautionary note, this network often needs heavy management and moderation to keep these collaborative projects focussed.

4. Sales and marketing

ERP-managed sales and marketing efforts are perfect channels to drive and attract interest from the customer level by means of social advertising. In this case, various airlines utilize ERP-managed social advertising to interact with customers using Facebook, and Twitter in order to energize before/after travel promotions; while major international auto manufacturers offer and promote deals that attract significant customer lead activity, thereby creating and measuring dealer/customer walk-in sales activity.

5. Customer care

In the same way that sales and marketing processes are aided by social ERP interaction, customer care initiatives benefit as well. Examples here are rife with opportunities particularly in the hospitality and product delivery segments where an intrinsic ability to communicate directly with the customer, while measuring results in real-time, can make the difference between creating a lifelong commercial relationship or leaving money on the table.

At the end of the day, whether social ERP positively impact operations on the surface or in a more arcane sense, the emergence of social processes is likely to become more necessary to the ERP value proposition over time.

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Rick Carlton

About the author…

Rick Carlton dba PRRACEwire, has worked as a tech journalist, writer, researcher, editor and publisher for many years. In addition to his editorial work, Rick has also served as a C-Level executive/consultant for a wide-range of private and public sector U.S. and International companies.

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Rick Carlton