Enterprise resource planning (ERP) company Epicor Software plans to integrate social networking tools into the latest version of its application.
Users will be able to access social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with the new release, which is scheduled to be launched at the end of this month.
“The latest version, called 9.05, will include Web 2.0 tools, making business accessible everywhere,” Matt Muldoon, Senior Director, Product Marketing, told Emirates Business.
“This will be done by creating enablers or hooks for integrating social networking tools such as Twitter into an internal messaging system. Other social networks that are media-friendly will be hooked on to the system.”
Epicor is taking part in roadshows and is also conducting beta tests of the new software at customer sites.
“We are showcasing the solution along with IDC at their roadshows and there are already 42 beta customers globally,” said Muldoon. “In the Middle East, there are two customers in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Social networking tools will help create message boards inside the application.”
Close competitors SAP and Oracle also have plans for the social networking segment. SAP offers a product called Constellation, a collaboration tool similar to Google Wave, again on limited release.
It is working on several other beta projects to tap the benefits of enterprise social networking.
The company has an internal Web 2.0 strategy, including sites such as Sap developer network (SDN), and employees are using tools such as Jive and CubeTree in their daily tasks.
In addition discussions are being held about possible business scenarios in which tools such as Twitter and LinkedIn could be integrated into Sap software.
Oracle has WebCenter Interaction, an integrated collaborative community, and social applications. It is also conducting a research project called Social Suite, but has not yet announced plans to take the initiative beyond the advanced development stage. Muldoon said the mobile platform was another segment that would be taken up by ERP companies.
“Applications can be published in web pages and are becoming more consolidated. As a company, we want to make sure we are present in every segment. Cloud-based services such as SOA and even SaaS are potential areas for ERP markets and the next level of growth.”