More Usability for ERP Systems
19 Jan

More usability for ERP systems

That ERP systems are the general answer to the complex processes of a company is well known. However, a system must also be operated. Although it shows the paths to follow, the user has to "walk" himself. This aspect is emphasised during the ERP introduction often not taken into account, which is why it often causes more confusion among users after commissioning than their being able to fully use the ERP system. In addition, the general level of knowledge about the software is often not uniform within the company. In most cases, it requires a high level of support for the users to be able to use the system in its entirety. The multitude of functions was often daunting for ERP newcomers and therefore not very user-friendly. The reason is a lack of ERP usability.

Improved ERP usability would not only lead to satisfied customers who ergo buy it again and ergo recommend it, but also relieve the support. This saves costs in the long run. Also in the user company.

However, it is difficult to bring about change in terms of ERP usability. For usability consultants themselves, the complexity of ERP systems is a major hurdle to being able to test applications for usability. Therefore, special procedures are already being developed to test ERP solutions for usability.

Surveys on the topic of usability have created a summarised picture of the state of the problem. However, solutions must ultimately be product-specific. Nevertheless, here are a few suggestions:

Problem: Complexity due to too many options

Solution: Since the user is confronted with the complexity of the system right at the first programme interface, one solution would be to offer a reduced number of options. For example, five options become three. Other options can still be selected in the course of work so that the system does not lose its application diversity. So rather a building up processinstead of having to work with all options from the beginning.

Problem: Lack of transparency of work processes

Solution: Especially with more complex work processes, the user can be helped in terms of transparency by arranging the interfaces in the direction of reading and by labelling the active options. Even if it is only to follow his or her own work path.

Problem: Lack of access to relevant data

Solution: With correspondingly long work steps, the user should be able to access relevant results at any time. It would be helpful to have one or more clipboards that are marked as such. Of course, all other data stored in the system must also be easy to find. A user-friendly search mask is helpful here, but is already available in some systems, such as the Enterprise Search in SAP Business One. An important step towards more ERP usability.

Problem: Routine applications are not marked as such

Solution: The problem basically shows the solution. Routine applications must be marked accordingly. It would also be good to have an option to define these user-specifically or to bind them to the user interface.

Problem: Little (flexible) assistance

SolutionAlphabetical sorting in long lists or transferable applications such as a search field with a corresponding icon would be a start. Especially with little-used modules, the user would benefit from flexible auxiliary functions such as error correction.

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