Sunday, 6 November 2011

Part 4: What should be on the CEO/CIO checklist when it comes to outlining the business outcomes these systems should deliver?

When looking at an ERP, ensure web integration is included, what elements can be shared or what are shared as part of the package. 

The points to look for are:

  • Can the ERP communicate with the company website.
  • Can social media feeds be built into the ERP.
  • Can the ERP post directly to the social media.
  • Can consumers log into the web system and deal directly with the company.

Future proofing?
Can the system evolve as needs of the interaction-age change?  What is the next equivalent of Facebook, and how possible is it for the ERP to adapt to these new technologies?

Part 3: What are these customer systems like, compared to five years ago?

ERP systems are becoming increasingly interactive; a consumer can now directly place an order for a product through the system.  Very soon, a customer will simply talk about a product or problem and it will be supplied or fixed.

The input of the consumer is growing rapidly, it is very likely that consumers will soon influence management decisions much more directly.  In order for management to make these decisions, suppliers will need to view data from all information sources.  This data will be displayed, reported on and analysed, to ensure management and the suppliers are making the right decisions. 

The consumers are almost getting inside the suppliers systems to help foster better decision making.

Part 2: What does this do to customer data? It can no longer live in silos, so how can it be integrated to give a single customer view?

Customer data will continue still survive in its own domain, however, much more data will be stored to retain the link these entities have. 

The main task ERP systems will need to achieve is to correlate data from social media sites with data inside the ERP.  The outcome is; much more data needs to be related. 

Some form of reference must be kept.  A record must be created in the ERP to aid in data retention and accounts.  The use of Application Process Interfaces (API) to communicate with social media platforms will become paramount.

This does not mean that the data will be stored any differently.  However, it will require additional space, increased volumes and links to external sources that were not even in existence 10 years ago.