Purchasing an ERP system? Make finding the best UI a top priority.


An ERP can be a valuable tool for your company, giving you the ability to manage your business processes more quickly and efficiently, and increase the visibility of vital information within your organization.  Finding the right product is essential to get the most bang for your ERP integration buck, and there are many factors to consider as you look to buy.  Of these, the one that is most often overlooked is application UI.

The user interface is important because it is the one aspect of the system that is touched by everyone, from the basic user all the way up to the system admin.  It should be simple and easy to use and provide you with the power and flexibility that you need to adapt to your ever-changing requirements.  It should be able to accomplish this while limiting the need for customization requests to the provider’s business services team, and the development/implementation costs and delays that accompany them.

With this in mind, here are three things that you should consider when looking at an ERP solution’s user interface:

  1. How usable is the ERP interface?  For software systems that are intended to help businesses run more quickly and efficiently, it’s pretty amazing how few providers apply this same concept to their software. Over the last few years, advanced mobile and web interfaces have revolutionized the usability landscape. This trend seems to have been largely missed by ERP software providers, who are often clinging to dated technology and processes within their product. Something as simple as creating and submitting an expense report may require clicking through multiple screens (with the refresh and data load/update times that accompany them) and having to scan the page to locate where you need to go and what to do next. Choosing a product that offers modern interface and process management within the UI maximizes the time and cost benefits you’ll see from your new system, and saves your employees a lot of unnecessary headaches.
  2. Is it easy to configure?  For most organizations, the out-of-the-box application isn’t rich enough to capture all of the data that they need, or to label it appropriately according to their business terminology. Fields will need to be added, renamed, or reorganized to allow for their employees to quickly and accurately perform their tasks. Make sure to invest in a system that will allow you to quickly and easily make these changes on your own. Having to submit a change request to the provider’s business services team every time you need to have a field renamed can be time and cost prohibitive.
  3. Can it be easily adapted to how your business works?  Every business operates within its own system of business rules and procedures, but can your new system easily take those rules into account and, more importantly, does it give you the ability to create and manage them without having to go back to the provider for additional development? A product with integrated rules and workflow components will give you the power to implement your own policies and procedures and the flexibility to make alterations when necessary without involving the provider’s development staff, saving you time and money.