The Convergence of people and information
It was at my first Microsoft Convergence EMEA conference in Munich back in 2006, when I first heard the term “Extended ERP”. The principle seemed simple enough to understand: typically, 15% of employees of a mid-market organization have access to the ERP system and therefore the information and data stored within it. Microsoft’s vision for extended ERP was to empower the other 85% of the company by enabling them to access the relevant information. And the vehicle for doing this was SharePoint.
Then at the London leg of Convergence 2010, I presented for the first time with Microsoft a new innovation that enabled the NAV Windows Client (previously RTC) to display archived documents using Client Extensibility within NAV itself, using our recently released Zetadocs Capture Essentials product. Capture Essentials became a popular NAV add on, because customers could see the improvements in productivity and customer service that was possible. AIIM’s 2013 report, entitled, Winning the Paper Wars illustrates this nicely: it’s contributors claim that by digitizing paper documents, productivity improvements of 29.7% are possible and customer response times can be improved by 4.0 times.
Gigabytes, Exabytes, Zettabytes
Yet the wealth of data we are creating is growing at a phenomenal rate. IDC’s Digital Universe study estimates that the digital universe will grow between 2005 and 2020 by a factor of 300: from 130 Exabytes to 40,000 Exabytes. An Exabyte is 1 bn Gigabytes, but the amount of data is becoming so huge that we are starting to count data in Zettabytes. These 40 trillion gigabytes (40 Zettabytes) equate to more than 5,200 gigabytes for every man, woman, and child in 2020.
Up in the cloud
So with so much new data being created and productivity and customer service high on most business’s priority lists, extended ERP and document search and retrieval is more relevant today than it ever has been.
When we innovated on Office 365 in 2011 through our collaboration with Microsoft to deliver Zetadocs Express, we took extended ERP to a whole new level – the cloud. We delivered document management for NAV “in” Office 365. At the recent Directions EMEA conference in Vienna we also announced support for NAV’s document management “on” Azure.
The power of choice: No SharePoint? No problem!
So with technology moving so quickly there are a multitude of different platforms and environments in use and customers will change largely at their own pace. We feel that as an ISV it’s important to be compatible with these platforms and ensure that we can support customers through this transition: working seamlessly with what they have today, while ensuring that future platforms are also supported.
That’s why with the next release of Zetadocs Express and Zetadocs, we’re extending support for archiving documents to include network folders as an alternative document store. This means that if a customer hasn’t invested in SharePoint yet then there is a version of Zetadocs that they can implement today as part of their Business Ready Enhancement Plan. No SharePoint? No problem!
“In” and “on”
I don’t hear the term “extended ERP” in use so much these days. Perhaps it’s because we’re more used to accessing ERP data through multiple platforms such as hosted NAV, in the cloud through Office 365, or following us everywhere on our smart phones and tablets via the NAV web client. In other words, it’s becoming the norm rather than the future.
I’ll be attending Convergence EMEA 2013 in Barcelona next week, learning more about NAV “in” Office 365 and “on” Azure - the NAV 2013 R2 innovations that are the modern way of consuming ERP data and would be delighted to meet with new and existing partners to share our vision as to how NAV’s document management will fit in.