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When is it possible for structure and flexibility to peacefully coexist? In a social ERP system, of course!

While joining ERP software and social media may not seem like the happiest marriage, the integration can actually work quite well if your organization has the right corporate culture. The ideal corporate culture for social software is collaborative – employees have a voice and are consistently interacting with clients, customers and coworkers.

The market for social software (Enterprise 2.0) is growing quickly, and it’s caught the attention of many executives, but how many companies actually understand how to best use social software?

Fortunately, there are some shining examples of organizations that have successfully implemented social software, and the June 2012 Enterprise 2.0 conference highlighted more than just a few case studies of successful social software implementations.

Real estate service company Collier International, for instance, is a great example of a collaborative corporate culture. The company created an application similar to LinkedIn that connects employees with others in their industry and helps drive internal business referrals. Because Collier’s culture already inspires collaboration, the application was a welcome addition to their business processes, and it had an adoption rate of more than 80-percent among employees.

While Collier chose to integrate social media with an existing ERP system, others prefer ERP software with built-in social functionality. Both strategies are great ways to increase your organization’s productivity by facilitating internal communication. Social software allows employees to share and record their knowledge within the ERP system and communicate with coworkers, customers and clients. Social software also serves as a great feedback mechanism, especially if the software is designed to mirror the Twitter philosophy of short, ongoing messaging.

No matter how collaborative your culture, social software has the potential to further increase this collaboration, and it’s important to prepare for such changes. Following are some tips that may smooth the adoption process:

  • Flexibility – Since social media tends to be informal and unstructured, companies first need to learn to embrace the lack of control before they implement social software.
  • Regulation – Although unstructured, social media tools should also be somewhat regulated (at least to the extent to which all employees know how to use them). This is yet another instance where organizational change management is critical to alignment and understanding.
  • Planning – Before proceeding with social ERP implementation, a company first needs to define its business processes and create a business blueprint. Social software should not dictate the way a company is run. Instead, it should be the other way around – as the company evolves and grows so too should the ERP system.

To learn how Panorama can help your organization with ERP implementation for social or standard ERP systems, visit our ERP implementation page. Also be sure to visit our organizational change management page to learn how independent ERP consultants can help your organization’s culture can leverage an enterprise initiative to become more collaborative, harmonious and efficient.

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