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ERP solutions and customisable interfaces

By Jean-Baptiste Sachot, 2:00 PM on August 2, 2018


Adopting an ERP solution is a big change for any company. It will affect all staff, in one way or another – everyone needs different things and works in different ways. If you switch to new software without considering these differences, you'll make a rod for your own back, slowing down take-up or even paving the way for flat-out rejection. For a smoother switch-over – and to make everyone's work easier – the ERP interface should be tailored to different user categories. Let's look at two examples: consultants and management auditors.

Users have different expectations

A classic ERP solution, like a monolith, pays no attention to individual users' needs. It's the same for everyone: the same displays and the same interface. Imagine a shoe shop that only sold high heels – even as sports shoes. What a choice!

But our consultants and auditors use ERP solutions in very different ways:

  • Consultants spend two minutes of each day using the tool. At the end of the day, they log their time, and maybe their expenses for meals and travel. For them, the ERP solution is an admin tool that doesn't help them do their core work.
  • Auditors spend seven hours a day on the tool, every working day. They use it for (almost) everything: cross-checking data, monitoring margins, chasing up co-workers, and so on. The ERP solution is their main working tool.

Now, compare these two profiles with a third: senior management. After all, they pick the tool and they approve the purchase. But once the tool is up and running, senior management barely have anything to do with the solution: running checks, looking at dashboards, and, now and then, approving leave or signing off quotes.

So, we have three types of users with different needs using one tool. A good ERP solution should adapt to each profile.

Your ERP solution should work for everyone

Consultants, management auditors, sales managers and CFOs will all use the solution differently. But it's wrong to think that some are more important than others – or that some matter more when you pick your tool. It makes no odds that management auditors spend much more time working with the tool than consultants. After all, everyone has to get to grips with the solution, no matter their position. If you think about it, without any data about fees and time spent on each project, management control would be useless.

The problem with an ERP tool solution that works better for someone that prioritises some people's needs over others – is that you run the risk of ending up with poor-quality or incorrect data. And that means data that you can't rely on. Imagine if 30% of your consultants didn't log their time. Maybe it slipped their mind. Maybe they were away. Maybe it was an in-house project. You simply can't guess. If any of the data is missing, you're in trouble.

Your ERP solution will only work for your company if it works for everyone within your company. Its strength is in the sum of its users – that means your staff. So each user profile must be tailored to people's needs, via an interface designed just for them.

Modern ERP solutions mean something for everyone

The unique thing about modern ERP solutions is that you can tailor them to different needs – and tweak how they work depending on who is using them. They can boost collaboration (overall) with different access methods, comms channels and personalised user experiences. And they do this without losing sight of a key concept: centralization. So no matter the different user set-ups, the tool will still run smoothly.

Let's go back to our two user profiles, but this time, let's look at the latest generation of ERP tools:

  • Consultants don't always remember to log their time and expenses because they're not in the office all the time. Mobile workers need to fast access to tools from their smartphone or tablet. They have to log their data no matter where they are, when it is, as soon as they remember. And seeing as they don't have a lot to do on the tool, a simple, ultra-ergonomic mobile app is a must for them.
  • Auditors use the solution all day long, in a specific environment: they have to be at their office computers, with a keyboard and a mouse, and in a comfortable chair. So they must have a tool that boosts productivity and supports their work: enhanced functionalities, a customisable interface, optional data cross-checks, personalised shortcuts, etc.

You can sum up modern ERP solutions in one word: customisation. They adapt to different users' actual needs within the company. They run on different devices, have tailored interfaces and use different channels like modern websites, combining multichannel and responsive design. In short, the software works for all users, whatever preconceptions they had. So, even if 99% of consultants are mobile workers and only one prefers to admin at their desktop, it's no problem.

The ERP solution of tomorrow isn't a standard tool that all members of staff have to master. It's a flexible, adaptable, multichannel solution that blurs the lines between devices and is tailored to each user, depending on their needs and preferences. The ERP solution of tomorrow makes life easy for users. What if we told you that that solution already exists?

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