Do we merge E2.0 with ERP applications?

The application and implementation of E2.0 is now taking an interesting turn.

While some think that it is to be integrated to other Enterprise applications like ERP others think it must be a stand alone application and kept clear of ERP applications.

This is a difficult question to answer from the point of designing and architecture of E2.0. Each side puts forward arguments that appear strong enough and credible though it does confuse us a lot.

So, we must look at this problem more deeply from a fundamental level based on design principles to have an answer.

I would start in this manner. Communication inside an organization follows the Pareto principle of 80:20, i.e. while 20% of the information is structured, 80% of it is random and unstructured.

ERP applications are very well suited to handle structured information flow. However, they were not designed to take care of unstructured flow of information. The proponents of ERP and E2.0 merger argue – why not? What is the harm if we integrate the two into one application that makes it stronger? Management would then have total control on the information flow sweeping across the organization.

That is precisely where the flaw lies in the design. What is that?

What happens when we mix random signals with periodic signals (ordered)? We all know what might happen. Our music systems wouldn’t work any longer. It would be noise all through. Same would happen for any signal processing systems like TV, computers, mobile devices and even for a simple microphone  when ‘gain’ (feedback loop of noise) enters the system.

The lesson that we get is simple. Random signals and periodically Ordered systems can’t be mixed up otherwise only meaningless noise is generated which is of no use to anyone.

The idea of E2.0 on the other hand is to harness the energy latent in such random signals (or a stream of non periodic information) to boost ideas, innovation, improvements, solving problems in order to spur growth of organization. We are in fact drawing the energy from the self organizing behavior of the random information and putting it to use.

So, logically the bottom line is that ERP and E2.0 are strange bedfellows that would refuse to make love and produce an intelligent child for the future. So they are best kept apart and dealt separately in order to be useful and productive.

Therefore, it is important for designers and system architects to take note of the fundamental conceptual error in suggesting a marriage between E2.0 and ERP systems.

The maths is also clear. ERP can possible tackle only 20% of the organizational problems while E2.0 can handle the rest. If we want to have a handle over 100% of the organizational problems wisdom says that they are to be kept separated otherwise what results would only be noise (a spastic child), an output which any management would unlikely accept. 


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