Thanks to social media, you can tweet someone or chat on Facebook. Now users of IQMS Inc.'s ERP systems can link up to make suggestions to the company, or bounce them off each other.
Users had direct input to help develop version 7.7 of its Enterprise IQ ERP, through an online public forum.
IQMS launched the ongoing virtual user group at NPE2009 in June. Enterprise IQ 7.7 is the company's first new ERP version to incorporate suggestions from the online forum which led to more than 400 changes, according to IQMS President Randy Flamm.
IQMS set up a community server portal using Web 2.0, the portal for social networks like Facebook and Twitter. About 20,000 people worldwide use Enterprise ERP software to run their businesses.
Flamm showed how it works during an interview at the company's booth during the Plastics News Executive Forum, held March 7-10 in Tampa.
Before the Web-user group networking, IQMS relied on user groups. About every 18 months, the company in Paso Robles, Calif., would gather users to talk out ideas. (IQMS still has user groups, but Flamm said the online comments will allow IQMS to make the physical meetings more targeted.).
Users also would e-mail or fax in suggestions, then once a month IQMS officials would hold a meeting to hash them out. It was pretty much decided in a vacuum, Flamm said. So we wanted to open that out, so we could have an ongoing virtual user group.
The IQMS social network benefits both the company and users, according to Flamm. Our customers can submit ideas for software development changes and improvements for all of our modules, he said.
Flamm said the Internet has changed how IQMS develops products.
We're always giving lip service to being customer-driven. This is more than lip service, he said.
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