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December 02, 2013

Social Media Functionality is Better Than Straight Integration When it Comes to ERP, Study Finds

When a new technology comes along, there are many possibilities and potential use cases. But just because something can be done, it does not mean that it should be done. In the case of social media, this looks to be true when it comes to integrating enterprise resource planning (ERP) and social networking sites such as Facebook.

While initially there was much interest in combining ERP with social networks, a new study indicates that perhaps putting the two together wasn’t exactly the best idea. A recent study by enterprise applications company, IFS, shows that business leaders are cooling to the idea. The study found that only 54.8 percent of respondents thought the idea of integrating social media with ERP was important. This is down from 58 percent in 2010, according to IFS.

Instead, the approach that seems to be emerging is combining some of the functionality of the social networks with the ERP environment, not actually combining social networks with ERP.

“We are seeing less interest in integrating social media to ERP, and more interest in applying some of the usability and communication methods people find so compelling in social media and replicating them directly in the software,” IFS Labs director David Anderson said in a statement.

Looking at the trends from both the current IFS study, which was conducted in August, and an earlier study back in 2010, it is clear that enterprises like social media but don’t exactly want to weld on public social networks to ERP.

This shift from what’s good in theory to what works in practice is to be expected; all new major technologies go through similar maturation process as companies figure out what works and what does not. Enterprise 2.0, as the connected enterprise is being called, is instead adopting parts of social media and leaving the rest.

“Tools like social media, wikis and blogs are intuitive and simple to use,” Andersson noted; they just make sense.

IFS has already begun integrating social media functionality into its ERP solutions.

“At IFS Labs, we have already launched these enterprise 2.0 features into our ERP suite, IFS Applications, with a feature called IFS Talk,” he noted. “This does not involve integration with public social media sites. Rather, it is designed to leverage the type of functionality people have become familiar with and find so compelling in sites like Facebook or Yammer.”

He said that this allows users to communicate effectively and intuitively in a secure environment while increases engagement and usage of the system because it is contained directly in their enterprise system of record. When a part of ERP directly, it becomes part of the organization’s knowledgebase.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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