Technology continues to advance dramatically. From the Internet to smartphones, everything is at your fingertips instantly. However, ERP has been left behind… To move ERP into the 21st century, I believe three areas need to be addressed: accessibility, interactivity, and intelligence.
ERP needs to be accessible when I want it, from where I want it (regardless of whether I am inside or outside the corporate network) and on the device I am currently using. Today, most ERP work requires users to sit in front of a workstation, one which has had the necessary software installed on it. To make ERP more useful, for more people, this must change. ERP needs to be unchained from the network. It needs to be web-enabled as well as device and browser agnostic. My ERP access should be no different from my email – I should be able to access it from my phone, my tablet or my laptop – from anywhere, at any time.
Ease of use
According to a study conducted by Mint Jutras (2013 ERP Solution Study), “Ease of Use” is at the top of the leaderboard when selecting a new ERP solution.
Unfortunately, ERP is not particularly interactive, nor is it very effective in communicating information to its users. Basically, you launch the application, you look for things, you find them and you leave. This is ‘pull’ technology and, like pulling teeth, it is not very pleasant to do. ERP needs to be smarter in the way it interacts with users – pushing information to them based on pre-set criteria. There are hundreds of applications where it is easy to set up alerts – a good example is the web and email based www.IFTTT.com – If This Then That. This premise needs to also hold true for ERP. For example, I might want to be notified if a specific payment doesn’t arrive when it was scheduled to. And I shouldn’t need to be logged into the ERP system to get this information. Today’s ERP is an example of an application ruling its users. That is just plain backwards. People should rule applications, not the other way around.
Think of the last smartphone or tablet you bought. Did it come with a manual? I’m guessing not. My four year old can use my iPad and he definitely hasn’t been on a training course. On the other side of the coin is ERP – the last bastion of manuals. ERP is fantastic for creating lists – accurate and detailed lists. But lists aren’t very exciting to look at. I want to be able to access my ERP information in a dashboard – one I’ve built, showing key indicators I’m interested in. And I want to be able to do it without consulting a manual.
Does your ERP system currently allow you to address these 3 areas? Learn how to work around your current ERP system and still get the latest functionality.
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