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ERP for the Knowledge Worker

September 18, 2010

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)  systems are used extensively in business to manage a multitude of processes in the day to day running of the organisation.  From customer orders to inventory management,  to scheduling,  procurement and finance, as well as the required resources.  They hold rules and logic of how each process should operate such as, required data for a new order or customer, what materials for a particular order, when to order  materials when stocks run low, when to send automatic reminders of a late payment,  and much more.

This is all essential functionality within the primary business activity, weather manufacturing, retail, logistics etc.  But how about the knowledge that the system users have.  How about knowledge of stand alone applications, or excel workbooks and formula’s that support process not covered by the ERP?.  Away from systems, how about booking meeting rooms,  where to order stationary and replacement water bottles, restaurant options close to affiliated offices when travelling, material from the last conference a colleague attended, or even a way of administering the office 5 aside soccer team or the Christmas office party.  All knowledge that is held by few but could be used by many.

Communication and information was handled by internal memo’s and then e-mail, but soon after many organisations adopted Wiki’s and Forums as organised open content creation, edit, store and retrieval tools to take conversations out of e-mail in-boxes and into public view for all to share. The idea is anyone could create a topic and anyone could add, amend or correct the content.  A self regulated environment where the latest and greatest information is always the most accurate.  There are now full social networking style applications available of course.  Applications that can sit on the organisations intranet and connect employees across cubicles, departments, branches or countries just like Facebook does in our personal lives, but how effective and how utilized are they as a true ERP for knowledge workers?

My personal experience is of some initial starts using various tools, but a flurry of activity would end with tumbleweeds swooping through the threads.  I will be conducting a survey of knowledge workers as part of primary research for the thesis and I will focus one section on tools, and peoples attitudes and experiences of using them.

What have your experiences been of social media tools in an organisation?  Have you used any Web 2.0 tools in your organisation, to what level of detail and what was the experience.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Niall Murphy permalink
    September 24, 2010 2:03 pm

    I don’t use them Fergal

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