The success of social networks gave food for thought to business owners who wished to raise their profits by stimulating employees’ engagement and productivity by adding collaboration features to standard business processes. The question of implementing collaboration at an enterprise level is always important especially for companies with geographically distributed offices or unique product lines, as the success of their entire business cycles strongly depends on collaboration.
That’s why IT departments keep searching for opportunities to add collaboration features to enterprise systems, including ERPs. And yet, ERPs that are supposed to provide an integrated view of core business processes are not very susceptible to collaboration, so it happens that after many years of customization and considerable investments, employees still use their Skype accounts for business needs. This way, implementing enterprise collaboration features in an ERP becomes a long-lasting and costly challenge with vague prospects.
The Ghost of Social ERP
When trying to solve the tricky task of providing an ERP with collaboration tools, you can, of course, Google around for various tips. And, you might feel happy to see an impressive number of articles dedicated to social ERPs that are positioned as the best solutions, joining collaboration with ongoing production processes. However, if you try to find a real incarnation of a social ERP, the examples are very few. It looks like a social ERP is rather an attractive concept that is short of practical application and in need of deep elaboration.
So, is there any acceptable solution that will allow one to add fully functional collaboration to an ERP?
With over nine years of delivering collaboration solutions, we at ScienceSoft advise introducing enterprise collaboration with the help of a dedicated platform such as SharePoint. The core idea is to integrate SharePoint with an ERP by creating isolated collaboration spaces linked with appropriate ERP records. This way, employees will be able to switch from an ERP record to the collaboration space, communicate with colleagues, and return back to the record at any moment.
You are welcome to see a detailed concept of enterprise collaboration developed by our SharePoint consultant, as well as a helpful formula that will allow you to integrate a collaboration platform with an enterprise system according to your expectations.
What Are the Benefits?
Integrating SharePoint collaboration features to your ERP system will allow you to:
- Keep the ERP’s logic untouched. While adding SharePoint collaboration features to your enterprise system, you don’t interfere with its logic but enrich it with user-friendly collaboration spaces to let your employees stay connected.
- Provide employees with fully functional collaboration features. Developing enterprise collaboration in the heart of an ERP always looks like building up a wooden hut next to a first-class residence. As ERPs weren’t considered for collaboration, their collaboration features are limited. At the same time, if you choose integration, you can provide your employees with opportunities to exchange ideas and files, share links, instantly look up ERP records, etc.
- Guarantee data protection. In the case of integration, only the members assigned with ERP access rights can use an appropriate collaboration hub, which ensures both privacy and data protection.
- Save budget. As we have already mentioned, tailoring your ERP for collaboration purposes is not only time-consuming but also very costly. So integration is what can save a considerable part of your IT budget.
The problem of adding collaboration features to ERPs is widely discussed in ERP communities. However, the reality shows a significant gap between theory and practice, since developing a powerful collaboration in an ERP is a mammoth task. Integrating your ERP with a collaboration platform (such as SharePoint) can be an advantageous option to provide you and your employees with fully functional collaboration tools in shorter terms and at a reasonable price.