One of the most critical aspects of achieving transformational benefits in your ERP deployment comes down to the ability to master the knowledge integration process. The current crop of social media tools provides a terrific opportunity to significantly reduce your costs and accelerate your time-to-value in support of knowledge integration.
Important knowledge integration challenges in ERP deployment include the ability to:
- Collect and assemble requirements from across the enterprise
- Efficiently access and leverage best practice and technical expertise
- Rapidly respond to users as they move up the learning curve
In effect, these items boil down to bringing the best answers to identified problems as rapidly and efficiently as possible. The current suite of social networking tools provides real opportunities to make substantial progress against this objective. See Harris Interactive’s Microsoft-funded research on enterprise social networking adoption plans to read about organizations’ common goals and concerns with the suite of tools currently available. Top Tier System Integrators (SI) are ramping up their capabilities to leverage these tools to increase their value propositions and lower their internal costs. Here are several ways you can leverage these tools and exploit the full capabilities of your SI.
- Integrate tools like Yammer into your Power User or Super User support structure. Building a powerful collaborative Power User network will significantly reduce time-to-problem resolution.
- Use Wiki Technology to develop and manage requirements documents and procedures. This efficiently allows for multiple authors to contribute simultaneously to document development and allows for efficient access to information.
- Optimize use of tools like LinkedIn to reach-out to counter-parts at companies your SI has identified as references to validate capabilities and perhaps develop a helpful network.
- Take full advantage of user groups, communities of practice, and professional networks to tap into potential best practices and technical expertise.
- Utilize instant messaging to accelerate collaboration between off-shore and on-shore resources.
Most importantly, it is critical to leverage the internal knowledge network of your SI. When you consider the global knowledge reach of these organizations, building on these capabilities is likely to accelerate your potential return. Here are a few ways to get the most out of your SI’s investment:
- Be specific in your Request for Information (RFI) / Request for Quotation (RFQ) regarding how the SI is utilizing these tools. More specifically, inquire how these tools work toward your benefit and will assist in lowering costs.
- Incorporate into internal processes specific points to leverage and access the SI’s knowledge network.
- Be specific with the staffing assignments on your team to include the junior employees that have the highest competency in utilizing the firm’s network.
- Most importantly, develop a reporting process to monitor the overall usage of the SI network to confirm utilization.
- Constantly look for ways to increase utilization.
As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments.