ERP Trends for 2014: Social ERP

Ellen, an engineer, looks at a purchase order she found as a result of a query. She sees the supplier, the part purchased, and many more sets of data. So what?

For most of us today that is exactly the end. I am the buyer who placed the purchase order. I don’t know Ellen and never even have seen her name. She works in some other building in another city. We have a connection. Neither of us knows the connection exists today and after she closes the PO query that might be the end of the connection.

A social ERP can track real and potential connections for us and automatically connect us when collaboration is needed.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Google and other social sites find those connections and use them. LinkedIn sees I found someone from a query I made. It also sees another person in another part of the world found the same person through another query. I am connected somehow to the person who made the second query. When enough connections are found, LinkedIn will recommend I connect with that person.

Collaboration & Connections

If my ERP spotted that connection and told me about it, maybe Ellen has some knowledge that will help. Many connections are dynamic. There are a handful of people that care about any particular purchase order. Some of us today are linked by an email group. Email groups are anything but dynamic. It might have been created to help with some situation years ago but we still get emails related to the group. Why are emails still the most common attempt at communication in our business today? Isn’t social ERP a better way?

I hope we see the expansion of social processes in our ERP systems in 2014. ERP is our enterprise connection between all of us, on the inside, and those related to the business, from outside. A social ERP can track real and potential connections for us and automatically connect us when collaboration is needed.

We can have long-term connections to the people we relate to today. Those won’t change much. We can stay connected to the people of a common project. We can also benefit from unknown connections like with Ellen through social ERP. Some of those will be short-term. Some will turn out to be longer term too. We just don’t know what we don’t know.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at

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Tom Miller

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