In most organizations there is a suite of applications for ERP, another suite for personal productivity and collaboration and any number of business intelligence applications.
Because the application framework is so fragmented, we often wind up without all the relevant information needed for critical business decisions. The good news is that enterprise application vendors seem to be making progress in bringing these applications together.
For example, this week Epicor rolled out a Smarter Business Intelligence initiative that seeks to pre-package analytics software inside version 9 of the Epicor ERP suite. At the same time, Epicor added social networking features to boost collaboration, tightened the integration between Epicor and Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and added a mobile sales application.
According to James Norwood, Epicor senior vice president for worldwide marketing, this integration means that end users will see threaded discussions that allow them to follow specific types of events and data as people start conversations, they can embed key performance indicators right alongside transaction data, and field sales people will be to use a mobile application take an order from quote-to-cash while sitting in front of the customer.
Epicor isn't the only ERP vendor headed in this direction. But what it does show is that application vendors are finally starting to take the business user's productivity more seriously. That should ultimately boost productivity by making relevant data-and the people who know something about that data-readily accessible.
Influenced by all things Web 2.0, times are finally changing across the enterprise application landscape for the better.