Social Business for Manufacturing?Posted on - 04:30 PM on Tue, Nov 06, 2012

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Will social business do for manufacturing what Facebook did for consumers? To find out, reporter Will Stirling of The Manufacturer.com attended the Infor on the Road stop in London.

"Business IT is harnessing social media-type technology to problem solve more quickly and less expensively than the incumbent email trail," Stirling writes in a Nov. 2 article headlined "The Social Business Network."

" 'I'm telling my finance director to look at this!' Frans Beerkens shouted into the packed conference hall. 'It could save me thousands of pounds in reducing email traffic alone,' " Stirling reports. "Mr. Beerkens, from Fetim Group in the Netherlands, was attending Infor's UK customer shindig in London as part of the software company's annual roadshow.

"Infor CEO Charles Phillips had just explained the principle of its new approach to optimising its products by harnessing social media in enterprise applications. The working title is 'social business.'

"Imagine that a problem is raised, such as a purchase order query. The old paradigm is to send the document to a colleague, who forwards it to another colleague, kick-starting an email trail that may finish 10-people deep, with all the risks of version control, before a resolution is found. The new paradigm, Mr. Phillips contends, is to let social business simplify this process to a quasi-Tweet, sent to a preselected group. One document, one controlled notification, no email trail or duplication," writes Stirling.

Then he goes on to question Andrew Kinder, Infor director of product and industry marketing:
"Do we really need more electronic noise?"
"What is the difference between notification by Tweet and email?"
 "Can't much of this heightened plane of communication be achieved through an intranet?"
"How new is all this?"
Get his answers. Read "The Social Business Network." on The Manufacturer.com.

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