03 Feb Movers and Makers Are People too, so Strive for the Ultimate User Experience
Streamlining operations through the implementation of ERP software makes excellent business sense in a world with ever-increasing volumes of data to process and analyze, and a new generation of employees entering the workforce.
The boundaries between personal and business technology are becoming blurred, which presents you with both opportunities and challenges. Enabling employees to maintain a work-life balance is becoming harder.
However, you can now be open for business regardless of temporal or geographical constraints. Today’s employees are not only intuitively familiar with technology, but they also feel a sense of ownership – this is what they grew up with.
Interestingly a recent study reveals that in addition to reduced process times and centralized enterprise-wide data, one of the top three benefits gained from ERP is increased collaboration.
However, your attempts to use ERP to enhance collaboration between departments, countries, and regions, could fall short of your goals if your employees are reluctant to adopt new software.
User experience (UX) is crucial to rapid uptake, but UX alone is not enough – your chosen ERP software solution must engage your employees. That means empowering them to work whenever and wherever they want and enabling them to personalize the appearance and functionality of their ERP software interface.
To maximize engagement and avoid a confusing user experience it is important to note that engagement marks the intersection between commanding attention and taking action, and represents the deliberate choices your employees make when interacting with devices and software. In essence – it’s how they extract optimum value from the tools you provide them with.
Without engagement, there can be no meaningful user experience. Engaged employees are more productive, more innovative, and happier. Engagement is the key to improving business performance and boosting productivity through reduced complexity and enhanced collaboration.
What about Support and Training?
When an ERP system is deployed, the expectation for ROI is understandably high. All too often, however, companies balk when the time comes to invest in adequate education and support. Such reluctance is misguided. It will be difficult to maximize the ROI from your company’s ERP investment without ongoing access to expertise and user training. The preceding may not be apparent to first time ERP purchasers.
By way of illustration, a Deloitte & Touche survey reports that the top criterion for first time ERP purchasers is price, but for second-time purchasers, the top criterion is the vendor’s level of support, during and beyond implementation.
ERP training, like support, too often neglected, is your greatest hedge against application erosion – the idea that business software loses value over time. We believe that application erosion is avoidable since its major cause is insufficient user competence, enthusiasm, and commitment.
Untrained or apathetic users often revert to pre-implementation habits or focus their attention primarily on functionalities that add immediate, visible value. As your ERP’s deeper features are neglected, its potential to create value is diminished. To maximize the ROI of your new ERP system, request adequate levels of support, and be pro-active in training your workers.
C-Suite Commitment – Get Them Moving in the Same Direction
The failure of an ERP project remains an unfortunate reality for many organizations. Here analyst firm Gartner estimates that 55% to 75% of all ERP projects fail to meet their objectives.
It is therefore crucial for your company’s executives to be very closely involved in the ERP selection process. It’s their job to know the company’s big picture – past, present, and future. If there are expansion plans, for example, an ERP should be selected with sufficient scalability. If there are plans to move into new markets, then your selection team should be thinking about multilingual support, exchange rates, taxes, and government regulations.
Having an executive on the team that prioritizes your business requirements will help to clarify the most suitable ERP solution. Should security and compliance be at the top of your list, or does the business have complex needs for its distribution processes? Which of your many business processes need immediate improvement, and which could be addressed further along the upgrade path?
One of the dangers of choosing an ERP without enough executive involvement is that the result may not address the long-term needs of the company. On the other hand, the vision of talented executives can help your company realize additional, perhaps unexpected ROI, through the adoption of promising and cutting-edge technologies. In the absence of executive involvement, your ERP project timeline will probably suffer.
Choosing and implementing ERP systems requires many important decisions. Having an executive guide and understand the process helps to avoid delays.
When the World Changes Around You, Move with it and Make it Happen
For many organizations, the single defining criterion for ERP selection is often, quite simply, the cost. While price will always be an important factor, we believe that companies are better advised to focus on building competitive advantage and ROI through a combination of provider expertise, industry built functionality, and quality of support.
More than any consideration of price, these are the factors that will add to your ERP’s value in the years to come. That value, if your ERP selection process has been successful, will lead your company to competitive advantage and profit.
Prioritizing the importance of your business’ requirements will help to clarify the most suitable ERP solution without the need for costly re-implementation. With a clear focus on needs and objectives, a choice of deployment option that suits the way your team works, and the support and training to start on the right foot, your organization will be gaining the resource efficiencies and insight to move your business forward ever faster.
As these trends shape and re-define the competitive landscape, make sure you opt for an ERP solution whose powerful capabilities, integrated with the latest technologies, will pave the way to digitalizing your business, streamlining your supply chain, and providing greater control and visibility. All while simplifying and personalizing your user experience.
As the Makers and Movers of the world, make sure your ERP selection process is thorough, thoughtful and rigorous.