Success or failure of a business is determined by its people and in most businesses, staff use software such as ERP to execute the various tasks, processes and other required activities more efficiently.
So what are the factors that determine if your ERP promotes or hinders employee productivity? There is many vendors out there hostility it out to get a share of your attention, discussion about features and technology, but are they gone astray the main point?
In a recent client visit, I spent time looking at end users, how they use their ERP system, what they like and have an aversion to about it. Here is what I discovered.
The top quality for end users is the speed of entry, and how fast they can carry out their daily tasks in their ERP system. Speed rules the whole thing. Is it faster using the short-cut key? They will pay no attention to the mouse. Vice-versa, if it is earlier to use the mouse, they won't touch the keyboard.
Speed extends to information. End users want the right in sequence in front of them when they need it. It doesn't even need to be a pretty graph, as long as they have instant access to it. This trait is even more pronounced amongst the experienced and power users, who would like to have the lot on one monitor to reduce direction-finding.
The second characteristic of a good ERP system is to reduce actions with no added value in their use of the system. Looking at knowledgeable end users, they recollections how many times to force down the enter key to get to the next relevant field, bypassing some fields that are irrelevant to their task at hand. It becomes amazing automatic.
A great feature of an ERP is the ability to customize screens. For example, the ability to automatically populate the fields with default values, or even removing them from the screen altogether, allowing users to jump directly to the next relevant field.
The last trait of a good ERP system is low latency from one action to another one. Anything under 100ms from one screen to another is great, anything between 100ms and 250ms is acceptable, and anything above that is too slow.
When looking at experienced users, their keyboard movement and the fast succession of screens is amazingly fast.
These three attributes of an ERP system are necessary to end users. I am using solutions, especially SaaS applications, in both professional and personal life that are not geared for speed and productivity. They sell well in a boardroom, but they bring nothing but frustration to end users focused on getting the job done.
There was a funny moment at a customer site. They were using Pronto Xi in one of their divisions and a tier one ERP system from Germany at headquarters (I let you guess which one!).
He interrupted me, asking what I was doing on test data. He couldn't believe it when I told him that I was, in fact, working on the live system. The speed of dispensation of Pronto Xi was miles ahead of the better-known ERP. I essentially had to show him some live data to convince him.
Is your ERP delivering on speed and ease of use for your end users? Let me know your thoughts on the success factors of an effective ERP system.