Wikis, users and ERP…

Disclaimer: Having first actually added something to a wiki all of nine months ago  I can hardly call myself a wiki expert-pioneer.  Here at SAP there is a tremendous amount of wiki related activity,  behind the firewall it has been going on for years and now, outside, with the Wiki over on SDN.  Check it out.

Yet not everyone here gets the free-format emergent nature of a wiki.

Tesha definitely gets it. She is one of the key drivers behind the SDN wiki. 

She  forwarded me this email the other day.  It was sent by a colleague.


I realized, that within the Wiki, I would be able to change every content in the Edit area (or even delete it!)- is that really the purpose of that forum? I think, that should be restricted.

It made me laugh for a second and feel  smug because I have drunk the emergence kool-aid, but  I then realised that a year ago I would have probably said pretty much the same thing.  For many people the lack of control and structure is  unnerving, especially here in Enterpriseyland.  It is easy to understand why.

One of the key functions of an ERP system is to stop users entering stuff wrongly. That’s why there are lots of rules and tables and so on.  It is amazing how many users will enter Mr and Female unless there is a validation to stop it,  put Fred on the executive stock programme when he  should on the telesales employee of the month lunch token programme, or order too many pencils.  

ERP systems are about control, accuracy, repetition, discipline and execution. They help you run the business, consistently. Consistence is cool.

 Normally, you don’t want just anyone getting creative with the invoicing process,  embracing chaos in the goods receivable department,  grassroots movements in MRO,  an out of the box way to calculate VAT,  mashing up  intracompany account reconcilation, or  paradigm shifting the shift schedules.

If you think about it  a bit more deeply, one of the goals of an ERP system is to have as few users fiddling with the process as possible.  Automation, lights out processing, end to end.  Put brutally, the fewer users to mess up the process the better.  The fastest, slickest, most cost effective processes tend not to have any users  at all.

JP discussed McAfee’s HBR article, and made this insightful comment….

He does not say β€œIT that is specified by random and ever-changing and poorly articulated and inconsistent and sometimes even nonexistent business processes.”

He is so right. 

 Enterprise applications aren’ t all about passionate users.    

We need to eat the process broccoli, not just the UI ice cream.


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8 thoughts on “Wikis, users and ERP…”

  1. Indeed, it can be a schizophrenic landscape. I cheer lead for blogs and wikis in the enterprise while at the same time have to develop a massive self-service effort with a structured UI to validate and standardize 375,000 telephone numbers in the data warehouse because unstructured data entry left a mess.

    Applying proper solutions to a business processes requires discipline, but fervor and excitement over Enterprise 2.0 can tend to make people look to apply emerging technology inappropriately. To paraphrase, when you are smitten with Hammer 2.0, everything looks like a nail.

  2. Excellent post Thomas! So good it got me going on a post all by myself of course πŸ˜‰

    But alas, no trackback here! So thus a trackbacky comment…

  3. Nery Nice Blog what ever i seen.
    i have also blog on erp

    Erp is not fail, we are developer of erp and make many success erp, yes the growth rate of erp in india is low, but hope that it rapidly growth.

    Campus ERP Software, ERP Solution In India, Erp Services, Campus Training,

    Bridge Logic offers Campus Erp Solution, Erp Services, Web Based Erp Software Development, Bulk Email Marketing, CRM Software, CMS Solutions and Application Software, Attendance Management System punch card Finger Touch.

    Thanks and Regard’s
    Michal Bridge
    (An Erp Solution Provider)

  4. “ERP systems are about control, accuracy, repetition, discipline and execution. They help you run the business, consistently… .”
    This is really inspiring…

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