A rising number of global business venues are mining the power of social networks and integrating real-time consumer data from platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram. These social networks help companies connect with their customers and vendors, as well as improve brand identity. Modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions are integrating these channels as a way to improve the customer experience.
Social media integration can boost productivity by giving workers tools like instant messaging, so employees can easily work together. Business and social interconnectivity makes it easier for workers to attach both inside the enterprise and outside the company with clients and vendors.
Last month Microsoft added a powerful new social arm to their enterprise products with the completed acquisition of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional social network, with over 430 million users in 200 countries. Microsoft is already the second biggest provider of software-as-a-service offerings that include customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning.
Microsoft hopes to understand some important benefits from LinkedIn’s network of professionals, as well as their customer management and social selling product - LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Sales Navigator generated some $60 million in revenues for LinkedIn in the first quarter of this year.
ERP systems can provide business management with a global view of all company data, and social media integration expands that view to include an array of personal customer data. Today, social data is even being leveraged to improve demand forecasting, one of the most challenging areas of prognostic analytics. Since social media happens in real-time, the developing data can often be leveraged right away.
Social data mining depends on effectual social media listening. Posts on platforms like Facebook or Instagram can yield accurate, real-time insights into what consumers are planning to buy. This is actionable intelligence that could help an agile company corner the market on a product just because they know it will soon be in demand.
Social data is already helping hundreds of companies optimize their warehouse inventories by enabling manufacturers and retailers to anticipate customer demand. By identifying trends early using the analysis of social action, companies can increase orders or cancel production, based on what is trending right now.
Sport Dimension, based in Carson, California, is one of the top manufacturers of water sports products. In the 1970s they were one of the pioneers of surfing and scuba diving gear. Today Sport Dimension designs, develops and distributes products to every kind of venue, from mom and pop stores to specialty shops for professional athletes.
To keep all of this running, Sport Dimension needed a powerful ERP solution that could manage their huge customer base as well as a complex series of financial reporting processes. Sport Dimension decided to deploy Dynamics AX, and they are now live on AX, partnered with Hitachi Solutions America, a top provider of enterprise solutions based on the Microsoft Cloud.
Sport Dimension is now running under the Hitachi Solutions Industry Cloud for Retail, powered by the Microsoft Cloud. In concert with their existing Dynamics 365 application, the entire chain of Sport Dimension outlets now has access to a list of several new features, including four powerful new tools: