The industry has long desired Enterprise Resource Systems to up their game when it comes to usability. It been recognised that unintuitive user interfaces hinder and frustrate users, and ultimately interfere with successful adoption and utilisation. Many business systems have noticeably lagged behind consumer applications.
According to a recent study from Aberdeen Research, improved accessibility and usability of company data can boost user productivity by 73%, customer response by 75% and process cycle times by 75%, leading to faster sales and increased profits.
The ERP marketplace is evolving and vendors are realising that they need to make ERP more useable. It’s not just about having an ERP that is mobile enabled, it’s about making mobile ERP intuitive and reliable. It’s not just about new features, it’s about making sure that that they offer what’s needed by users, and that it remains 100 percent usable.
How Work Towards Usable ERP
Established vendors may need to go back to basics and ensure they undertake effective research to ensure they understand what is needed in the market place. The aim should be to put the user at the heart of everything they develop.
Vendors and integrators should make no assumptions on user needs, and understand that they must work with users to fully understand the current market requirements.
The creation of an early adopter programme is typically a selection of customers and partners who are asked to implement the latest product version at a critical point in its development, and then give feedback on what works and what doesn’t. This helps vendors to refine the product before the general release to market.
As part of a programme, vendors should dedicate a workstream to usability, helping to ensure they fully understand user needs and apply them to the product appropriately.
What To Expect
I believe that an ERP solution should be our user’s collaborative partner. Rather than a tool just to add data into, or to constrict them in their daily tasks, an ERP solution must assist users not only in their daily tasks, but to add value to processes.
Collaboration between users and system need to be in its DNA – running through the user interface, system design, navigation and reporting outputs. It’s all about helping users to get more done in less time, and allowing users to focus on the highest value tasks.