Sep 20, 2013
Usability is a key factor when selecting an ERP providerBack
Amazon|Education|Epicor|Epicor Software Corporation|Facebook|Flow|New Era Solutions|PROJECT|Road|System|Systems|Training|YouTube|Flow|Online Education Techniques|Product|Solutions|Systems|Malcolm Fox|Operations|Smartphones
By Malcolm Fox, Vice President Product Marketing, Title, Epicor Software Corporation
At the start of an ERP selection project, functionality is often the number one criteria. However when we ask our customers why they selected Epicor ERP, one of the top answers has always been usability, or ease of use. This is an important point. Return on investment, productivity, customer satisfaction and general efficiency are all impacted if an ERP system proves difficult to learn, and hard to use. Employee adoption needs to be as swift as possible in order to realise the new system’s benefits.
Some of the triggers for changing an ERP system typically include scalability, changes in business model, a lack of visibility and overall complexity – but not just with regards to processes, also relating to ease of use. For example, as traditional, transactional ERP systems have been customised to fit industry specific processes, end users, and in particular new users, have needed more extensive training before they could become proficient and able to carry out their tasks. Today's modern ERP systems are much more user-friendly, and coupled with more comprehensive online education techniques, a workforce with varying IT capabilities can be fully trained and working live with the system within days, or even hours.
If employees feel confident and happy with a new system, the transition from old to new will be much easier. Employees often tend to resist change, but a user centric ERP system can empower even the most inexperienced employees as well as those with little IT knowledge. The sooner you get the buy-in from your workforce, the faster your organisation will start to reap the benefits, a faster time to added value and a lower total cost of ownership
Although training around functionality remains essential, the user interface (UI) can further add to the user experience. Familiar navigations, a visual layout and a logical flow of operation, all help increase ERP usability. Mash-ups and dashboards are becoming more mainstream, and even more intuitive when they are role based and can be personalised. From here access to tailored reports, supported by real time data, enables decision making, facilitates strategic planning and gives the user a comprehensive picture of relevant activities at any given moment. The more that relevant information is brought to the user from inside the ERP system, the less they have to look for it. Additional web parts or social media type applications can bring added value providing more contextual information. As UI’s develop, it will not be surprising to see evidence that inspiration has been taken from sites such as Amazon, YouTube and even Facebook – simple layouts and simple navigations that don’t require extensive training but add considerable value to the user experience.
As businesses expand operations and travel becomes commonplace, ERP systems must not only be scalable to adapt to the changing needs of growing operations, it must become more flexible. ERP needs to go on the road. Everyday devices such as smartphones and tablets allow business anywhere, and when users can take their ERP system with them wherever they go, there is no starting or stopping business activities and operations can run smoothly. Furthermore, if the desktop version is replicated in the mobile version, users can easily transfer their ERP knowledge making the mobile format instantly usable.
It is evident that new technologies will continue to increase the user experience and create loyalty in the consumer world, it’s logical to think that this will also become the case in the business world. When you look closely at what contributes to a successful ERP project, usability impacts not only the short term adoption but business efficiency and customer satisfaction. There will also be a connection to cost reduction and ultimately the overall total cost of ownership (TCO). Perhaps usability should be more measurable criteria in the ERP selection process?
New Era Solutions
Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Announcements News
Further Strengthens FortiGate and FortiMail with New Integrated Capabilities as part of Fortinet’s broader Advanced Threat Protection Framework Fortinet® – a global leader in high-performance cyber security – recently announced the launch of FortiSandbox...
Productivity of workers in South African warehouses is in some cases believed to be as little as a third of that of their overseas counterparts. This, together with a big increase in labour costs, high fixed costs, labour instability and supplier unreliability makes...
Skyjacks Tailifts and Ratcliff Tailifts have announced that they have entered into a joint venture as at 1 March 2015 that will effectively combine 60 years of tailift knowledge, R&D and manufacture, benefitting the clients of both operations with access to top...
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
This Week's Magazine
Subscribe to Engineering News and Mining Weekly for two years, but only pay for the first year. The weekly editions of Engineering News and Mining Weekly will be posted to your preferred postal address and also gain access to:
National flag carrier South African Airways (SAA) is in an advanced stage of renegotiating its deal with European airliner manufacturer Airbus to acquire A320 single-aisle (or narrow body) aircraft. The aim is to replace ten of the aircraft still on order with five...
Worldwide, the main thrust in the ports industry over the past decade or more has been to increase efficiency. Traditionally, ports have been run by engineers and mariners and, in the past, increasing a port’s capacity was achieved by expanding the harbour. “That has...
What do you do when an elephant has a toothache? You call Dr Gerhard Steenkamp from the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) faculty of veterinary science, Onderstepoort, one of only two elephant ‘dentists’ in the world.
The 2015 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) competition was launched earlier this month in Johannesburg, with the main focus on creating and inspiring entrepreneurs to create jobs and boost the economy.