There's a startup based in London that you should spend some time getting to know: Evrything (not a typo). Is it uber-cool? Yes. Is it massively social? Of course. But the real story in its offering is the sheer disruptive force the company's concept represents to systems of record governing the supply chain.
The basic premise behind Evrything is that every product your company sells potentially gives off streams of real-time data, provides a point of interaction with social platforms, and churns information among third parties that never touch your internal radar screen. This will cause some IT leaders to break out in hives, while others will see a huge opportunity.
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That's the heart of the issue: the need to reengineer our thinking about the value of systems of record versus systems of engagement.
Most companies have spent several decades building out systems of record for ERP, HR, and the usual suspects. Millions of dollars have been invested, and millions more are spent on maintenance. All of these systems are built on a foundation of business processes conceived at a point in time that, in all likelihood, no longer meets the need for agility in the business today.
But we march forward. We patch the process and the systems. We do this for obvious and substantial reasons such as legal and regulatory compliance, as well as information security. It's expensive and time consuming, and very often, it leaves the business less than satisfied with the flexibility or capability of the outcome.
Systems of engagement have a substantially different value proposition: integrating social and collaboration capabilities with the everyday transactions of the business. The vast majority of these solutions is less hardened versus their legacy counterparts, and they're now more typically implemented and maintained via a small ecosystem of partners and third parties. In essence, they tend to be more cutting-edge from an interface perspective and fit more tightly into the average user's experience. In fact, for an increasing number of users, these are the systems of record for conducting business.