Has your business grown to such a scale that ordinary spreadsheets are no longer enough to manage all your processes? Well, you need to adopt an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
This software is practical for meeting numerous business needs. Following the 2022 ERP Report, organizations that implemented an enterprise product were able to realize many benefits. In particular, more than 71% of respondents indicate an improved customer experience, and over 80% point out better productivity and efficiency of their business.
Still, such multi-purpose software as ERP is quite complex. To get the most out of using it, you must take care of its user-centric design. It will enable any employee, regardless of their technical savvy, to leverage the ERP system to its full potential.
Today, we’ll tell you everything about ERP software design. With over five years of experience in the SaaS niche and enterprise products included, Arounda can share UI/UX best practices with you. So, keep reading to learn more about the ERP design process.
As already stated, ERP is more than just an alternative to spreadsheets. It’s a way more complex and functional solution. So let’s precisely figure out what it is.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a type of software that companies use to plan and manage their day-to-day business operations. It’s also a product that allows you to automate these processes.
What exactly can you manage with the ERP system? Typical processes include the following:
Supply chain operations
Customer relationship management
ERP software can offer more functions, depending on your business needs. Some examples include budget planning, reporting, and company performance management.
It’s also worth understanding that the ERP system combines all business processes and ensures a smooth data flow between them. Thus, this software becomes a single source of truth for all organization’s departments. As a result, the company can work as a well-coordinated mechanism.
It’s difficult to overestimate the benefits of an ERP product for any enterprise business. These include streamlined processes, well-coordinated communication within the company, optimized costs, and better performance. But what role does ERP UX design play in all this?
Just look at how many processes one ERP system covers. Accounting, inventory, supply chains, and more: at first glance, all of these require a deep understanding on the user’s part. Yet, if you work on the UX of this software, you can eliminate all the system’s difficulties. Intuitive and thoughtful ERP design will allow users to perform tasks more smoothly.
By providing a user-friendly ERP UI/UX design, you significantly increase the performance of your business. It becomes possible because employees can perform tasks much faster and easier.
ERP is a multifunctional product that will be used simultaneously by different departments of your business. That is why the personalization factor is critical. Let each user customize the system to their needs, using unique colors, styles, placement of widgets, etc. This approach will increase employees’ overall satisfaction regarding your ERP software.
As a rule, the ERP design process is similar to any other software design. You must go through all the typical UI/UX stages to deliver the best ERP look and feel.
Nevertheless, you should pay attention to the complexity of such a system. It will require more effort from your design team than creating some simple less-functional digital solution.
Let’s look at the ERP UI/UX design process in greater detail.
Ensuring a flawless UX for an ERP product is only possible if the end users are carefully studied. Show your empathy! That is, the ability to put yourself in others’ shoes to understand your audience’s needs and pain points.
Here’s how you can start researching your users:
Define user personas. It would help if you segmented your audience according to the purpose of their interaction with your software. In the case of ERP, user personas are often divided by specialty or field of work.
Conduct in-depth interviews. Communicate with your end users. It’s the best way to understand them better.
Use quantitative research methods. If you already use ERP or have other business process management solutions, analyze their current data. That way, you’ll see the ways for improvement.
In addition to thoroughly researching your users, you also need to conduct competitor analysis. Look at various ERP products, determine the most popular features, and more.
You profoundly understand the market and your users at this stage. Now you can define the goals that your ERP software should satisfy.
To determine your goals, you can do the following:
Conduct UX research. At this stage, this research is critical because it allows you to identify the main problems that your product design should address.
Refine your goals based on your research. Use the collected market and user information to set more precise data-driven goals.
Set priorities. You will have more and less important goals. It would help if you determined which ones are most critical to your ERP system design.
You can offer ideas for the best ERP UI design based on the set goals.
For this, you can do the following:
Brainstorm with the design team. Allow employees to suggest any ideas that come to their minds. Select the most viable concepts until only a few tangible solutions remain.
Create the first sketches. Let your designers visualize concepts for further refinement.
At this point, your team can move on to creating wireframes and prototypes. You should be ready for the fact that there will be numerous prototypes, given the multi-functionality of ERP. Your employees must test the most viable solutions and choose the best one.
Finally, you can bring your design concepts to life. In this step, your team takes the best prototype as a basis and deploys a full-fledged ERP design.
What can you do during the ERP design process to make your system flawless? We have several suggestions. Check out the following design best practices:
The first thing you should always have in mind is to ensure your ERP product’s simplicity. This software should be feature-rich but, at the same time, convenient and user-friendly. How to achieve this? Add quick access to the most critical data or features and think carefully about navigation in the system.
Stakeholders are those who use the ERP system side by side with you and are most interested in its convenience. They can tell you about problems they or their colleagues have when using this software, and you can employ this information to improve the overall design.
Let your ERP software be suitable for more than just technically savvy users. Make sure the tools your audience uses are user-friendly. For example, it can be a drag-and-drop solution, thanks to which the user can easily edit the content.
Since the ERP system consists of many modules that cover different tasks, you need to take care of the powerful search capabilities of this software. On top of that, such ERP stores a large amount of business data, so swiftly finding the required information is critical.
Another practice that will significantly improve the user experience of your ERP is data visualization. Let complex information be displayed in accessible charts, graphs, or tables. In this way, employees will be able to more easily analyze the key indicators of your business, deliver more accurate insights, and accordingly improve your company’s performance.
Your ERP system must be consistent. All the modules (e.g., accounting, inventory, etc.) should smoothly work together. This way, users will not be confused when opening a new module for them: it will have a familiar design.
ERP UX design is critical to achieving all the benefits such software offers. Increasing business performance, boosting customer satisfaction, and optimizing resources and costs will be possible only if the ERP system works smoothly.
Top-notch design for enterprise resource planning systems is about convenience for your employees and the opportunity for productive work. Take this into account when implementing ERP in your company.
If you are currently engaged in ERP adoption, you are probably looking for someone to take over the design part. In this regard, Arounda’s experts are the best option. Our specialists have a vast background in user experience, including ERP UX design. So
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