How much training does someone need to order a book from Amazon, or to do their online banking, or to book a flight? If you’ve any level of familiarity with using the Internet then you probably don’t need much help to carry out any of these tasks for the first time.
So why should ERP systems be any different?
The fact is that erp for distribution has evolved from a very different starting point, and is largely impossible to use intuitively in ways that we’re all familiar with from using the Internet. Users need training to be able to use an ERP system properly.
Again, this is an area that ERP vendors have been developing. More familiar user interfaces are easier for users to work with and less training is normally required.
One way to achieve this is to make ERP applications more like the applications we use on the Internet. Another approach is to mimic/piggyback on users’ familiarity with other, similar applications. Office workers tend to be very familiar with office suites like MS Office so some ERP systems have made use of this familiarity and have designed their ERP systems to look and feel very like MS Office. Microsoft’s own ERP products are probably the best example of this.
Buyers of Sage erpx3 systems should expect a workflow engine to be part of a modern ERP solution. Workflow helps improve process efficiencies by focussing those involved in the process on the work that needs to be carried out. Workflow has many potential applications in ERP: any business process supported by the ERP system where there are multiple contributors, stages, reviewers or approvals could be modelled using the workflow engine.
This has had implications for ERP user interfaces, typically evolving from menu-driven applications to portals where users are informed about tasks that require to be carried out.
All of the above is very good news for purchasers of ERP systems. Regarding business intelligence, we’re now in an era where there are few gaps in functionality between comparable ERP systems, and therefore ease of use and, ultimately, improved end-user productivity are now considered highly important criteria when selecting an ERP solution.
Not all systems are equal however and it’s possible that some may have selected the wrong options from a technical perspective. Time alone will tell.