Infor CEO Charles Phillips has said that if an enterprise needs to use internal ‘champions’ to persuade other employees to use its social platform, a recommendation that is often made by the likes of Salesforce.com, then implementation is a waste of money.
He also told Computerworld UK that the argument that social platforms for business will replace email in the future is ‘weak’.
Infor, the third largest enterprise applications provider in the market, has developed its own social platform, dubbed Mingle, which it is currently piloting internally and with a few select customers.
However, unlike Salesforce, which also invested in Infor earlier this year, Mingle isn’t a separate social platform, it is instead tightly integrated with other applications and businesses processes. Phillips argues that this will drive usage rates in the enterprise.
“We have developed a social platform that is different from other companies. Instead of having a completely separate platform that people just communicate with, we have embedded it as part of our application,” he said.
“What you need when you are solving a business problem is the context, you need to be able to share the data, the customer order, the invoice, the asset – whatever is involved. You also need to know who has the authority and knowledge to work on any particular problem.”
He added: “Mingle allows you to follow everything, every business object, every customer, every piece of equipment. If it is a separate platform, no-one has the time to sit there and chat all day.”
Phillips said that Mingle will be available on general release over the next three or four months. He also noted that it is ‘probably slightly more complicated’ to implement, but believes the pay –off is worth it and that organisations won’t have to persuade their employees to use it.
He said: “This theory that social platforms at work are a good replacement for email is pretty weak. Mingle isn’t a replacement for email, it is just a better way to get your work done because it gives you the full context of information and transparency in your processes.
“Social platforms either add value or they don’t, it has to be obvious. If I have to have champions in the business trying to spread the word and convince people to try something that they have no interest in, it’s just a waste of money. It really does have to be obvious.”
In other news, Phillips has confirmed that he has no plans to develop applications for Microsoft’s new Windows 8 Surface tablet, which started shipping this week. He told Computerworld UK that there hasn’t been enough demand for Windows on mobile for Infor to justify investing in Microsoft’s tablet ecosystem.