ERP evolved

By Joanne Carew*

ERP systems are inherently large and complex. Historically, their user interfaces have loyally followed suit.

For Gary Regan, COO at Dac Systems, consumers/users have long been subjected to archaic interfaces of legacy systems that demand weeks of training before use. In these instances, they are often more concerned with, and focussed on, how to actually interact with the ERP system and can lose sight of the task at hand as actions or functions are hidden many screens down in multiple layers of menus and sub menus. 

“Consumerised ERP is, in my opinion, what almost all ERP vendors are striving for at the moment, whether or not they know or have `tagged it’ as such. It’s the complete refresh of the way tasks and data are presented to the user and, as a result, the way the consumer interacts with the ERP,” notes Regan.

Nkosi Kumalo, Oracle SA’s seniorsalesdirector forapplications and the SaaS cluster, shares this sentiment. “Traditional ERP systems had a clunky look and feel and it took a user multiple steps to complete a basic function. Business users found it challenging to navigate between screens and source data from multiple applications or multiple reports in order to respond to customers/user queries,” says Kumalo. The consumerised approach to ERP is all about providing both internal and external consumers with a simplified, intuitive, user-friendly experience, he continues.   

Consumerised ERP is `ERP at your fingertips’, says Shubna Harilal, head of DU SAP Solutions and Systems Integration at T-Systems SA. It means only having what you need, when you need it and being able to spin up and down additional functionality on demand.

She cites the role of connected devices in the field of predictive maintenance as an example. Your car talks directly to the service centre when it’s time for a service and syncs with your calendar to suggest when will be the best time to schedule this service.
“A consumerised ERP system makes these interactions possible, and effortless.” The ERP solutions boast greater levels of intelligence, wrapped into beautiful and intuitive designs, available as apps on smart devices or simple web portals, Harilal adds. “ERP systems will embrace the worlds of predictive and prescriptive – allowing organisations to leverage the power of their data networks. It’s a fundamental shift from ‘pull’ to ‘push’, where your ERP solution is working for you, rather than the other way around.”

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Originally posted at ITWeb

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