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ERP at Cloud Expo

Cloud Computing Expo - IFS North America on Monday released results of a study of ERP trends that suggest strong demand for both social media and environmental management functionality in business software used in manufacturing and other industrial settings. The study is now available for download directly at www.ifsworld.com/us.

The study, based on a survey of more than 260 U.S. manufacturing executives conducted for IFS by a third-party research organization, also asked manufacturers about how their ERP software could help them adjust as large numbers of experienced managers and engineers retired.

Key findings include the fact that most manufacturers seem ill-equipped to track their impact on the environment in the areas of carbon footprint, solid waste, air and water pollution, product lifecycle and product end-of-life impacts.

When it comes to the ability to measure environmental impacts, middle-market manufacturers did more poorly than did companies with more than $1 billion in revenue. Among companies with between $250 million and $999 million in revenue, only 20 percent of respondents said they were tracking some environmental measures but not others in their enterprise software, while 36 percent of companies with $1 billion or more in revenue said they had this capability.

In the area of social media, a minority of respondents said they were interested in integrations between ERP and services like Facebook or Twitter. Interest seemed stronger for back office management systems that mirrored social network functionality. Sixty four percent of respondents said, for instance, that they wanted their ERP to help them with the shrinking workforce problem by capturing and recording the knowledge of senior experienced engineers and professionals so that it becomes part of a corporate knowledge base. Wikis, blogs and other social networking applications are ideal tools for pulling tacit knowledge from groups of people.

“The results of this study, some of which we are making public, certainly make us feel we are on the right track with our enterprise suite offering, IFS Applications,” IFS North America President and CEO Cindy Jaudon said. “Manufacturers responding to this survey, by a sizable majority, said they want environmental footprint management functionality embedded in their ERP system, and in February of 2009, IFS was first in the market with our Eco Footprint Management tool. We continue to evolve IFS Applications further and further towards the intuitive look and feel of consumer software, and are planning to include social media tools like wikis in the application so our customers can capture information on their own business processes and best practices.”

IFS continues to perform research on these topics. In 2010, IFS will release an expanded global survey on social media in ERP, which will augment responses of U.S. manufacturing executives with those of executives from several other countries.

More Stories By Carmen Gonzalez

Carmen Gonzalez is the co-founder, president, and CEO of SYS-CON Media, Cloud Expo, Inc. and Ulitzer, Inc.

Carmen has been in charge of SYS-CON's sales and marketing functions since 1994. Under her leadership, the company was named by Inc 500, among the fastest growing 500 privately held companies in North America three years in a row.