ERP software providers have done wondrous things over the past 20 years to build interconnected systems that store important data and integrate them with other related business systems. The technology built into these systems to capture data was amazing at the time, and has produced “warehouses”, “lakes”, “rivers”, “reservoirs”, “fjords” (Have I just invented a new industry buzzword? The Data Fjord?) and other terms for huge volumes of data. Often, though, the fact that users have to actually touch the systems and enter the data was of secondary importance to the service of capturing all the data.
Getting data into systems is changing, for the better. Postmodern ERP strategies drive power to the business, through more user-friendly interfaces. These interfaces are adaptable, brand-able, appealing, and even *gasp* engaging. The user experience is being modeled on consumer-driven businesses where capturing the user’s attention and interaction is of utmost importance. In place of fields upon fields of required input, users can now touch, tap, click, browse, search, speak, ask and gesture to interact with the system. Instead of multiple pages of reports, interactive dashboards support visualization that can be stretched, rotated and noted with indicators as to improvement or room for improvement. Instead of producing special month-end packages of reports for the board, CFOs are simply displaying the ERP system and showing the live analytics and results.
ERP providers are understanding that the system is now a user experience. The experience is being built allow the system to present itself to the user in an easy to understand, configurable and adaptable manner that allows the user to intuitively figure out how to use it. And, sure, if you want to switch the theme colors from green to blue to match your company’s brand (and because it’s also your kid’s favorite color), you can do that too.
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