Today’s business management solutions, particularly enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, are evolving from a focus on transactions and data entry to one that places people and usability at the center of solution design. This includes attention to varying work styles, role-based perspectives on information and tasks, and the need to extract information in the context of business processes. This shift is being driven by workers’ dissatisfaction with rigid solutions that fail to integrate cross-business processes; adapt to changing global markets; or address the needs of individuals in different kinds of jobs. This inflexibility results in poor usability, both for the individual worker and for the solution’s fit with company-wide business processes and requirements.
According to the Forrester Research study, The Dynamic Business Applications Imperative, there is a shift toward “Dynamic Business Applications” that is helping to address this challenge. Dynamic business applications are designed for people; they greatly enhance usability and accommodate business agility to help organizations capture the full benefits of their solution. This design-for-people approach places the workers’ contextual tasks at the center of the application’s interface. The tasks, or work, are the basis for all transactions, business processes, collaboration efforts, and tools. Transactional processing and performance are still relevant, but people become the most important element of the solution.
Microsoft Dynamics AX is a leading example of a business management solution designed to optimize usability, improve user productivity, and meet the needs of people in a variety of roles to drive business success. The solution’s user-friendly navigation, familiar interface, visualization aids, and self-service business intelligence (BI) tools are prime examples of highly usable features that are designed for the people who use them.
A solution that’s accessible and relevant to a variety of people can contribute significantly to business success. Although the usability of a business management solution is only one aspect of productivity, it is critical because it can constrain or magnify all other productivity benefits of the solution.