The Critical Role of Usability when Considering an ERP Software Implementation

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Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is usually known as a complex and technical solution rather than a user friendly one. ERP usability, i.e. how easy the software is for the end users to access, manipulate, or navigate, has not traditionally been one of the strong points of ERP solutions. But today, ERP providers are coming up with solutions that give importance to usability, because if users can't figure out how to use an ERP system, they can't gain maximum benefit out of it. Microsoft Dynamics AX, for example, has become increasingly user friendly through AX 2012 and now through AX 7, especially as business users are already familiar with Office products such as Word, Excel, and Outlook.

"Vendors realize they must make investments to reduce the complexity of an ERP and make it more usable for end users. It's not just doing mobile, but making mobile more intuitive. It's not just adding new features but really thinking about making the UI more user friendly," Rebecca Wettemann, VP of Research, Nucleus Research, said to Enterprise Apps Today. "Nobody is making their ERP decisions based on a long, detailed feature and function checklist anymore; they're really looking for how to get more value out of it."

For every organization, before introducing any application for the use of their employees, it is necessary to think about the way they use their personal applications. They don’t read a user manual when they use Twitter, Facebook, or other smartphone apps. This makes sense to equip them with a solution that is easy to understand and use. Enabling your employees to use ERP software that has high-level of usability, i.e. which provides an intuitive user experience, will cut down on the time and costs required for training with a faster adoption rate. In the end, this transforms to an early return on investment.

The benefits of an ERP’s usability also extend to the expansion of an organization and employee turnover.

ERP Software with intuitive control systems, navigations and workflows makes it easy for new staff members to easily pick up on the intricacies of a system. As a business expands, emphasis on usability will pay off, and new areas of operation are more easily understood.

To check the ERP’s usability-level, organizations must conduct usability tests. Most organizations do not perform this action as they imagine them to be dreadfully expensive.  But they can run tests with a few employees from various departments, just to get a feel for the software and how it works. This gives them an idea of the usability-level of the software and based on this they can decide whether to move forward with the implementation process or not.

ERP software should be user-friendly for all members of the organization as they generally use it on daily basis. An ERP investment is of a little value if users do not embrace it. As a business flourishes, an emphasis on ERP’s usability will pay off, and new domains of operation are more easily understood.

by Indusa

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