Category: Technology

Social Media and the ERP

Over at gapingvoid Hugh MacLeod posts about a set of questions he received from a friend about social media. I found all the questions and responses interesting. The one one question and response that stood out was #10:

10. Additional Comments?

One more thought, which pertains directly to your client. I firmly believe that the line that separates social media and ERP is going to start getting VERY blurry, and really soon. I can see a not-to-distant future where even the larger ERP solutions are built around social software, not the other way around. And I can see that day arriving in under five years. We live in interesting times.

Sorry, Hugh but I think your are a bit off on this one. Sure ERP vendors will start offering social software as part of their solutions in the next 5 years. But think about from the view point of the folks in the market for ERP solutions. That group of people have driven large ERP vendors to provide guarantees that versions of their ERP solutions will be viable for at least 5 years. The market requires ERP vendors provide these guarantees due to significant costs of major upgrades. So, the adoption cycle for existing customers will drive the adoption of radically different ERP solutions beyond your 5 year horizon. Now I agree that the principles and techniques that have driven the adoption of social software in the consumer market will be adopted over time in enterprises of all sizes.

The reality is that enterprises today are just now getting platforms that enable them to realize visions of Michael Hammer and the like. ERP solutions are complex animals that could never be built around social software. What I believe is that social software coupled with process re-engineering will create huge efficiencies and value for enterprises. All this is dependent on a well abstracted ERP platform, in simple terms it will be all about services (API). Social software has a long way to go before dealing with things like GAAP, complex logistics, Financial reporting, transactional integrity, inventory management, production planning, global regulation, process execution, the list goes on and on. I believe social software has the power to make all these things more efficient and effective.

ERP platforms will remain the core of enterprises for years to come. The smart enterprises and vendors will have ERPs with comprehensive and integrated social software. ERPs will become like utility services doing very complex and important things, social software will create information liquidity, efficiency and transparency within and across business processes.

The saddest RSS feed ever

The Department of Defense News Releases feed allows technology to present a view of the the Iraq War that news does not. This feed contains the public press releases of the names of the casulties in Iraq and Afghanistan. I for one find this feed to be filled with nothing but loss and sorrow. I consume a fair number of RSS feeds and this is one feed that makes all others trivial.

If you are anti-war here is a feed of information that only motivates one to fight for an end even harder.

If you are supportive of the Iraq war you should subscribe to this feed to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the impacts of your support.

A feed that pains my heart to read.

Can you serve others better than you serve yourself

I have thought about this a great deal. The degrees of abstraction are endless. I have thought about it from a systematic perspective, from a social perspective, from a business perspective and so on. The answer I come to consistently is NO. Now let me explain.

The guiding point is: You cannot serve others any better than you serve yourself. I am not saying, if I want my friend to have a nice car, I must first have a nice car. Nope, what I am saying is, if I want my friend to have a nice car, I must first have the ability to give a nice car. At a personal level the actions we take that define us, are the foundations of our interactions with others. The personal side goes down a deep meta rabbit hole and is best left for another time.

The part that is more plain is from a business and systematic perspective. I had previously written “A provider cannot deliver a continuity of experience greater than the continuity of experience the provider has internally.”

You cannot manage a customers inventory any better than you can manage your own (definitely if you are using the same systems, people, and processes).

Do you think Ford could build cars for toyota better than they could build Fords, uh Nope.

Do you think that the U.S. can run a country any better than we run the U.S., uh Nope, just look at Puerto Rico (Usually worse).

If you have variability in your business process when you share those processes with your customer, guess what they get the same degree of variability.

If your email system sucks when you use it, it will suck when you host it out for your customers to use.

Do you think that Google employees have better mail services than Gmail users, I bet they do, but all services being equal I bet its darn close.

The reality is the systems, people and processes we use internally will never generate better results just because your using them on someone’s behalf.

Bye Bye local storage, Hello Amazon S3

I have been going through a great deal of change over the past 3 months. So while I am in flux I decided to minimize my use of local storage. I have started using Amazon S3 via Jungle Disk on my MacBook Pro. Storage in the cloud is very appealing to me, accessible from anywhere, anytime makes my life easier. Managing USB drives and DVDs is a pain in the neck.

I know that S3 is not perfect but it sure is nice so far. Jungle Disk appears as a mounted drive in Finder and I just drag the files into the drive. In the back ground Jungle disk uploads my files to S3 using my account. I have yet to do a back-up but that is on my list of things to do. The only think that does suck is the fact that my cable provider tightly limits upload bandwidth. So if you have a second try Amazon S3 and Jungle Disk.

Lawrence Lessig pursues Root Cause and Growth

Lawrence Lessig wrote yesterday that he is shifting his academic and activist focus from IP to legislative corruption. With his efforts over the past 10 years largely thwarted by the corruption of the legislative process. I believe that Mr. Lessig has been extremely effective in explaining the impacts and the value of a more open society. Describing a key reason for the change he writes,

I had learned everything I was going to learn about the issues I’ve been working on; there are many who would push them as well, or better, than I; perhaps therefore it was time to begin again.

Letting go of a leadership role and seeking opportunity for growth takes a maturity and self-awareness not often found. So I commend and thank Mr. Lessig for his efforts and look forward to his coming works.

Look out Washington one of the sharpest minds around is now focusing on you.

At&t not surprised

I have made it my mission to remove at&t from my life. I started this effort after a customer service rep had informed me that my Local loop could not support DSL, but at my expense I could upgrade the local loop. Just for clarification at the time I was living in a suburban community definitely not in the middle of the sticks. So I pledged to spend nothing with At&t, I dropped idsl Internet services, I dropped voice service to my home all I have left is cell service. At the end of my contract I am going to drop it.

I wasn’t surprised to read aboutAt&t’s move to censor their network traffic. I suspect that they are practicing for contracts in China. Nothing like sanctioning customers without due process, so I would like to offer some suggestions for additional services At&t can offer:

At&t Morality network filtering.
At&t Patent infringement network filtering.
At&t Free speech network filtering.

Here is the new slogan:
At&t
Our World. Filtered.

Did I mention that they are Headquartered in Texas.

Welcome FeedBurner

I have finally closed on my RFP for feed management. It only took me 10 months, that’s about right for an IT project. I have to say the set up was easy and straight forward.

I look forward to the day when Google analytics is merged with FeedBurner. Google will soon have a comprehensive offering for collecting behavioral data for websites. A belated congratulations to the folks at FeedBurner, I hope that the acquisition goes better than others (blogger, dodgeball).