When will my ERP experience be 'smarter'... the Time Sensitive Paradigm!
There are number of posts around the year end musings and the predictions for the next year. I thought of not penning down my thoughts this time; though i did the same last year (you can check that out here). This is so as even as we predict there is always an element of a "game-changing idea" or a "trend" coming up in the New Year which will make all these predictions run for shelter.
So, why this post! I thought of looking from the perspective of users of ERP systems - our clients. These are the people who will ultimately reap benefits from the ERP implementation though there will be some difficulties in the process. Any change would bring in some adjustments, additional learning and differentiated focus within the organization. However, it is the sweet success after this entire struggle that gives the strength during the challenging journey.
We all have heard about user acceptance, and the importance of it - the need is to make the ERP systems more "personal". We all have heard about contextual UI, Role centers, ribbons, etc.; but what dream of is a "Time Sensitive" UI. This can be a process step or can be a moment in time or a milestone. What this means is that what the user sees on the screen has all the features of a contextual UI (read records as per security, role and rights) and in addition it can also look showing at the 'appropriate' pointers to enable a transaction at that time. To draw a parallel, this would be like having an "Apps on a Smart Phone". Some of the apps like Birthday Reminders, Task Appointments, etc. actually are activated on the date and time when the activity is due thus enabling a great user experience.
Similar kind of experiences is available in other business and life scenario where the "Time Sensitiveness" is critical to the success of the initiative. A simple example is the case of retail solutions being offered where a person gets an alert on the promotions which are in progress for the items on the aisle / rack that he passes through in a retail store. This makes the experience richer and more fulfilling - benefitting both the end user and the corporation offering these.
Let me explain some of the scenarios where i can feel the "Time Sensitive" UI will work.
- Scenario 1: For an accountant, when he logs into the system at the month end the reports and financials journals needed for trial balance and consolidations are seen on the role center (or landing page) so that user can access them faster
- Scenario 2: A PO is raised and sends to supplier and the delivery date is confirmed. Now, ear to the expected delivery time; the receipt list becomes visible allowing the user to perform these receipt transactions
- Scenario 3: Once project is created, the Invoice buttons get activated around the agreed upon milestones giving the project controller easier access to raise the invoices
- Scenario 4: In a production run, the end of production process should activate transfer orders for warehouse personal and marketing teams to help them with their resource planning activities.
The list would be endless and the possibilities are also endless. This is of course just the tip of the iceberg.
This may not be a matter of enhancing the UI or the process workflows but would actually go beyond to ensure that all parts of an organizational IT backbone (having disparate systems - ERP, CRM, LOB, Office Productivity, Communication, Social Media, etc.) all come together in ensuring a seamless productive experience for the end users.
I hope that in the next year, we see more of this happening so that my clients are happier, the end users more satisfied, happy and informed.
May this New Year bring prosperity, happiness and success to all. Have a wonderful year ahead...and do share your thoughts once you are back in office after the year end celebrations. I would look forward to hearing on this.