When deciding to implement new ERP Software, a lot of consideration goes into selecting the correct solution. Key factors for consideration include:
- Ensuring all processes and requirements are fully catered for
- Verifying all critical information is easily accessible and retrievable from the software
- Determining how futureproof the ERP software package is
In addressing and fulfilling these points, you will be in a significantly better place to choose the right ERP system than if you rush to find the ‘easiest option’.
There is however another important factor that is often overlooked – the end-user.
So much time can go in to choosing the right solution that businesses often forget to consider the people who will be using the software system on a daily basis.
In some cases, the end user’s opinion and involvement in the decision are bypassed altogether. This can lead to the rejection of the new system in favour of outdated, but tried and tested options, such as the old reliable spreadsheet!
For this reason the end user experience should be given priority and acknowledged from the outset. This will ensure acceptance of the software and the end users’ needs will be catered for.
Ensuring every user can execute their tasks effortlessly and without a degree in business software is critical. It is important to assess how easy the new system is to use and draft in key staff members to ensure their functions can be carried out as efficiently and effectively as possible.
By ensuring staff have the ability to easily carry out their roles, you will not only make them more efficient and productive but support a quicker uptake of your new system.
In considering the end-user’s experience and a quick uptake of your new system, the following factors should be considered…
Facilitating individually tailored end user screens
With features like rapid data entry forms, end user specific screens and individual dashboards, it is now much easier to maximise staff productivity. Today complex functionality can be complemented by a user friendly interface and previous tasks carried out in an old system can be replicated easier than ever before. This is a key element to a smooth take-up by all end users.
Determine if you have the capability to fully customise an end user’s screen (not only through your consultant but in-house using in-built code-free customisation tools). This will ensure greater efficiency amongst your staff especially when screens can be tailored specifically to their unique requirements. It is even possible now to micro-manage every staff member with screens created for maximum efficiency, limits on what they can see and access restricted to only what they need to carry out their tasks.
Delivering significant automation & better flow of information
With the aid of workflows you can ensure sequential follow up steps or processes are completed without delay. New workflow technologies provide the option to automate and coordinate numerous business processes, both mundane and complex. Workflows help to improve communication and task management and will allow you to route specific tasks to different staff members.
For the end user, they are getting to work with greater proficiency and tend to be more productive when information is automatically supplied to them without having to go in search of it.
Applications that provide a better flow of information are deemed to deliver more accurate, relevant and timely data to end users.
A good degree of flexibility is vital within your software to ensure that when a specific process needs to be amended that your software can cater for it. For the end user, systems with built-in flexibility make it easier and more cost-effective to continuously streamline their processes to make them more productive and efficient.
In the past getting the level of flexibility you require may have involved expensive development charges. Today, modern ERP systems use the latest technologies and can provide a much greater level of customisation without incurring the high costs.
In fact, some systems now include ‘code-free’ customisation tools that give your system administrator the autonomy and control to automate countless tasks, processes and business rules. Not only will this help you maximise efficiencies but you can make it very easy for your staff to do their job.
Access to up-to-date and accurate information is vital in allowing end users to make immediate decisions to carry out their job with maximum efficiency. A system that works on a single centralised database ensures your staff can collaborate more closely across departments, integrating and sharing both information and processes business-wide.
This in turn leads to a more effective staff and better customer service.
All of the above should lead to a more productive team effort and over the course of time will lead to a better return on investment on your new business management system.
So when choosing your new system, choose wisely and don’t forget the end-user!