All entries for Tuesday 10 May 2011

May 10, 2011

Integration of ERP and social networking

With the booming emerging and growth of online social networks, it goes without saying that the capabilities of social networking and collaboration play a vibrant role in modern business operational and managerial issues. Meanwhile, the adaption of ERP which is the widely-applied advanced Information System in business also enters its 3rdgeneration, integrated with cloud computing as existence of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). As to those two critical components of business, combining them together to serve for business in order to achieve better performance seems an inevitable trend. However, from personal point of view, it should be true, but it might be slow.

Embracing social capabilities for ERP is not merely embedding a Facebook icon in the system and facilitating employees to maintain their interpersonal networks without leaving the transaction. The integration of ERP and social networking is more systematic and comprehensive, related to utilization of information and effective collaboration.

For instance, CRM application of ERP is a relatively rational field to integrate social networking. Greco and White (2009) refine an idea, called Sales 2.1 which is a combination of CRM, ERP, Web 2.0 and Sales 2.0 for improving purchasing experience. With the efforts of Sales 2.1, buyers and sellers can be better connected with the mediation of IT and ERP. By adopting ERP systems and CRM apps, firms can actively capture expectations, ideas and feedback of customers posted on social networks and those data are automatically re-organised and analysed for the use of overall decision-making process (, 2010). Moreover, HR application of ERP also can make better use of social networks to facilitate internal or external recruiting and management.

Nevertheless, idealised imagination and design may be hard to meet practical realisation. Integrators confront two tricky things: the agile, feasible and social nature of social networking and the complex and strict structure and process of ERP. The one is the difficulty of mining and utilising sentimental data in online social networks in the application of ERP. The main feature of ERP is ensuring high-quality data provided for overall corporation systems and departments and whether the quality of data extracted from online social networks reaches the standard is hard to judge by machines, even manipulating individuals. On the other hand, huge architecture and standardised process of ERP makes the adoption of social capabilities less responsive, thereby losing inherent feasibility of social tools. As a result, in spite of idealised configuration there still exist several critical obstacles for the integration of ERP and social networking, and actually it is indeed hard to find a few social elements in various existing ERP systems.

However, ERP vendors and designers still make their efforts on it. For instance, SAP StreamWork labels itself as the ¡¡ãfirst and only solution that brings together people, information, and business methods to drive fast, meaningful results¡¡À (SAP StreamWork, 2011). It is a collaborative decision-making solution of SAP ERP system which can bring people together on the same page, share documents and data in plain view, and provide structure and tools for brainstorming and decision-making. Although it is not pure integration of ERP and social networks, social and collaborative aspects can be detected from this solution. In addition, Oracle Fusion Human Capital Management application also features social capabilities with cloud in HRM (Oracle Fusion Human Capital Management, 2011).

As concluded, it is sure that future ERP systems will be integrated with more and more social capabilities for business needs; yet, inherent complexity of ERP systems will make integrated process slow and hard to achieve.

References:, 2010. ERP, CRM and social networking. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8th May 2011].

Greco, D. and White, B., 2009. Alphabet soup: How CRM, ERP, Web 2.0 & Sales 2.0 is creating a superior sales experience: A case study. In: Proc ISECON Proceeding of the Information System Education Conference. Washington DC, USA.

Oracle Fusion Human Capital Management, 2011. Oracle Fusion Human Capital Management: New cloud applications from the leader in HCM. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8th May 2011].

SAP StreamWork, 2011. What is SAP StreamWork?[online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8th May 2011].

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