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Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP Boosts Productivity Through Usability

You may read this and think: productivity improvements? Again?

Yes, improved productivity seems to be on every ERP vendor’s checklist of benefits whenever a new product or feature is released. And that’s because inefficient and rigid systems continue to be a major pain for companies and organizations everywhere.

Inflexible systems overwhelm, overload, and frustrate people – the employees, managers, customers, vendors, and partners who are working hard to make things happen and grow their business. According to a report from Forrester, there is a deep-seated dissatisfaction with business applications because they are inflexible, don’t address processes that cross business functions, and don’t match the business’ requirements. (The Future of Enterprise Applications, Forrester 2007).

Indeed, a study from AMR Research (The Enterprise Planning Spending Report 2005-2006, AMR Research 2005) found that only 15% of employees are licensed to use their company’s ERP system and that 46% of licensed ERP seats go unused. And when people don’t use the system, business productivity declines, growth slows, and even business critical processes can be compromised. Because, it doesn’t matter if standard operating procedures are in place if no one in the organization can access, see or enforce them.

Therefore, it’s not surprising when Forrester concludes that “poorly designed user interfaces can profoundly affect the bottom line. The expenses associated with a bad UI, over the course of the application’s lifetime, may end up being many times the cost of the application itself.” (The Future of Enterprise Applications, Forrester 2007)  The report continues on to explain the costly implications of a bad UI, including increased new user training times, a decrease in productivity and poor user adoption.

So why then is Microsoft Dynamics AX different? We claim improved business productivity, too, but does our solution deliver on this promise? And, if so how? What makes Microsoft Dynamics AX so special?

The answer is usability. The easier a software application is to use, the faster employees are able to adopt it and thereby enable the organization to reap the benefits the system provides. A study conducted by the consulting group, Keystone Strategy, found that companies who have successfully deployed IT capabilities throughout the organization – meaning that people are really using the software – have been able to profitably grow their revenues.

At the core of more agile, usable applications is the human experience, or what Forrester calls Design- for-People requirements.

“Design-for-people requirements place the businessperson’s work at the center of business applications’ human interface. The businessperson’s work is the organizing structure for a workplace into which we plug transactions, business processes, content, unified communications, social networking, and tools. Instead of people having to figure out how to apply collaboration tools to their jobs, ad hoc activities are integrated with structured work in these unitary, contextual workplaces.” 

Microsoft Dynamics AX has been designed to meet “people-ready” requirements; specifically, to improve business productivity by improving usability and increasing the reach of the solution so a larger percentage of employees have access to the system.

Learning a new software application or having to learn many different ones can slow down productivity. If a new user is familiar with the application, learning and using new applications becomes much easier and faster. The user interface in Microsoft Dynamics AX has been changed to improve the user experience, the learning experience and leverage the successful design concepts from the popular applications most users spend time in on a daily basis: Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint, Windows, and Internet Explorer. Working in Microsoft Dynamics AX is like working in other Microsoft programs that most people are familiar with. 

Yes, Microsoft Dynamics AX delivers on the promise of productivity – by offering unsurpassed usability, easier collaboration and communication, and comprehensive business insight capabilities. Microsoft Dynamics AX was designed with people in mind – making it easier for them to work, collaborate and make informed decisions more efficiently.