Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD May-Jun 2015 Contents The cloud is increasingly popular as a
‘sandbox’ or ‘sandpit’ for the initial testing,
user training and pilot phases, before
committing financial resource to an on-premise
deployment. UK based hi-tech manufacturer
Oxford Instruments recently did exactly this,
with its recent deployment of an integrated ERP
and PLM application.
Fundamentally due to the loosely-
coupled architecture, cloud and on-premise
applications still talk to each other and
integrate intelligently. Critically, any such
diversity in the background makes no
difference to the user experience. Users are
unaware if the information they receive comes
from an on-premise application, from the
cloud, or from a hybrid deployment of both.
Modern ERP means social ERP
The workforce of today is used to accessing
the likes of Facebook from a mobile phone or
tablet, and gets a consistent, familiar experience
anywhere in the world via the web. They can
communicate and connect on the move and
critically, they are now demanding the same of
their workplace software.
There is competitive advantage in having an
intuitive user interface (UI) that can enhance
navigation, smooth out communications,
reduce the learning curve, enhance the user
experience and improve productivity. A modern
UI can create a ‘social business’ environment
where the power of modern social networks,
tools and business applications coalesce in a
way that can profoundly change the way that
Critical to this is the use of a news feed to which
people can subscribe, rather than using sporadic,
ill-targeted torrents of email. Rather like following
people on Twitter or Facebook, the ‘objects’ being
followed within a social business network can
include sales and purchase orders, maintenance
work orders, customers, invoices, even specific
pieces of equipment. The system then alerts the
subscriber any time that the object has changed
state. But essentially, a user can ‘share’ an object
within an update to other individuals working in
the supply chain of a business.
Critically, this is not simply a social chat
stream that resides outside of the business
application. Social business needs to be
embedded within the application, so the objects
within the news feed are direct extracts from the
application. For instance, anyone questioning
a ‘suspect invoice’ can click on the object and
invoke the underlying ERP application in order
to solve the problem in real time.
When sharing an update, the context of that
update follows the shared object. This means
the receiving party knows the precise context
in which the information is being supplied and
can act accordingly. This sequence of ‘follow-
share-act’ defines the new generation of ERP.
Information and work is being followed by people,
not the other way around, and details can be
shared easily across the business, empowering
people to act to achieve specific outcomes.
These social business networks are intelligent,
as they are designed to utilise the existing
network of people, applications, machines and
data, even when people are not known to each
other. The system can proactively connect
people on a ‘you need-to-know basis’. Using
knowledge of all the necessary connections
between people/departments in their specific
job roles, a ‘social graph’ can be created in any
enterprise for the system to map.
A social business-enabled ERP offers intense
collaboration capabilities, and thanks to the
ease of integrating mobile into ERP, there are
even more options for travelling executives.
ERP is itself the result of a technological evolution
the original manufacturing planning systems
of 30+ years ago that led to ERP are largely now
confined to the realms of legacy applications. In
the face of huge opportunities for smarter, faster,
more agile ways of working that can capitalise
on new opportunities, businesses now need to
transform the dinosaur of monolithic ERP that
sits in their back office into a keen business tool
that matches the modern business environment.
Jo-Anne Ruhl is the general manager,
Pacific, for Infor. For more information call
1800 656 575 or visit www.infor.com.
"A social business-enabled ERP offers intense
collaboration capabilities, and thanks to the ease
of integrating mobile into ERP, there are even more
options for travelling executives."
Various instructor-led and self-directed programs and learning opportunities available around Australia
T: 02 9891 1411 | 1300 557 175 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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