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I recently attended a presentation related to how Accounts Payable Departments might utilize social networks. This really got my attention since we at OpenText have long considered social networks as a means to enhance sharing of information ranging from individual contributions through departmental actions to corporate messaging. Open Text provides a tool “Pulse” as part of our ECM solution to assist with information sharing. In addition, for those utilizing SAP Invoice Management, social tool can be utilized to enhance the process transformation.

By using Pulse, organizations can take advantage of a Facebook-like social media environment within their existing Open Text ECM Suite deployments and move informal communications out of email, thus dramatically reducing dependence on inefficient and slow email chains. Additionally, it offers a way for people to collaborate rapidly in real time, while creating a secure knowledge base for new employees and team members. Pulse is a major step toward enabling customers to capture their organizational memory through the archival of formal and informal user conversations.

So…how can those in the business process around Invoice Processing utilize social networks? While I believe the use is unlimited, I will focus on a few examples.

Individual Information Sharing or what would an Accounts Payable Professional want others to know. By using tools like Facebook, Twitter, Pulse, etc an individual can inform others when they will be out of the office or they may want to share recently achieved Professional certifications. They may want to inform a group such as selected suppliers of upcoming requirement changes. Information might be shared with internal clients on payment activities.

Departmental Information Sharing – The department may want to share internal statistics such as on time payments and discounts earned. They can recognize those process participants that helped to achieve new success with invoice processing. The department may want to announce staffing changes such as retirement, promotions or transfers. They may want to create groups for selected participants such as procurement so they can immediately address resolutions being handled with SAP Invoice Management. For me, I am now able to know if one of my colleagues is traveling to the same event that I may be attending. I can also see when colleagues are on vacation…live vicariously through their adventures…makes my work day a little more pleasant.

Corporate Information Sharing – Your shared service center may want to utilize social networks to introduce policy changes to both internal and external clients. As with the Department, they may want to announce staffing changes. They may desire to communicate real time with internal Accounting Departments related to closing activities such as accruals. The use of the OpenText Pulse would be a great tool to increase the visibility of current policies and regulations. I for one monitor real time changes to travel budgets as well as new presentations that others may have saved to the content server. I don’t have to wait and hope I receive an email telling me about new presentations.

Let me know…how are you using social networks to improve your corporate contribution?

For more information on SAP Invoice Management http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/ecohub/solutions/sapvim

For more information on OpenText Pulse

http://www.opentext.com/2/global/products/products-collaboration/products-opentext-extended-collaboration.htm

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