I was sitting in front of Stacks, a Burlingame, California pancake house, this past Sunday morning, with my dad. We were talking about the notion of social enterprise resource planning, and what it might look like.
He works for a big solar company that sells solar facilities to gigantic businesses to produce gigawatts of electricity. I consult with clothing and consumer-packaged goods (CPG) companies that are typically producing thousands of pieces of a product.
Both types of companies face the same problem. They find it hard to merge demand from their (social) customer relationship management systems with the needs and the advance notice required by their supply chain partners (distributors, suppliers, procurement) in order to produce these goods on-time and on-budget.
With all of this recent talk about sCRM (social customer relationship management), it only makes sense that a conversation about sERP (social enterprise resource planning) should begin. If customer relationship management (CRM) represents the front-of-house business functions (sales, marketing, customer service), then enterprise resource planning (ERP) generally represents the back-of-house functions like manufacturing, supply chain management, financials, project management, HR and data services.
It doesn’t really seem possible, to me, to socialize one without the other.
When prospective clients ask me what I do, I generally tell them, “I help brands get the customer from Facebook to Safeway,” which basically means that I show brands how to acquire the social customer, track their data, monetize that customer, and prove the results at retail and through the supply chain.
Social enterprise resource planning (sERP) will differ from plain-old-regular enterprise resource planning in a few key ways:
1. Social Data: Customer data will be shared (or “socialized”) throughout the supply chain depending on whatever level of privacy the customer has opted into (or out of)
2. Real-time access and real-time sCRM: These new social ERP systems will be largely web-based and will not only give suppliers and customers access to live data, but will disclose limited portions of the brand’s social customer relationship management data
3. Trust/believability metrics: Supply chain partners will get more accurate data because there will be a layer of social metadata on top of enterprise resource planning to account for trust and believability in business relationships (i.e. “Is this sales projection coming from a trustworthy salesperson?”)