Creating User Experience - a Trivia OR a Necessity...!!
How monotonous it is to work on a boring dull ERP with hardly or no interactive interface..! Most of the ERP's being in use today fit to this definition. They render work mundane and day stretched. Won't it be interesting to work on an ERP customized to your specific needs rather than being general, if there is software, you actually look forward to lay your hands on. And that's what probably INFOR had in mind, when they started working towards making their ERP a complete user delight.
Since the beginning of my professional carrier, I was longing to work on something that would keep me on my toes, something to take my mind off from Monday morning blues, and I never thought such a thing really exists until I got the opportunity to work on INFOR's ERP and to get myself familiarize with it.
More I learned about it, more I got engrossed. What grasped my attention was the thoughtfulness and consideration put into creation of an interface, which registers as soon as you start working on it. It reminds me of few lines I read in an interview of INFOR CEO Charles Phillips, which can't be described in better than his own words - "For most of our competitors, the model was to build a product once and sell it to all industries -- write it once and sell many. We don't do that. We really write it once for an industry. We're willing to have focused, last-mile features for a particular industry that may not make sense for other people"
If you are willing to create a User Experience (UX), what could be a better start than captivating the user from the beginning of work itself..! Having a workspace, which is a plethora of all the important information needed in a day, will not allow one to switch to another screen. The INFOR workspace is the homepage which can get customized as per needs. It engages the user from the minute they come into work. User can mark their KPI's, can put in news feeds, reports or any other important information so as to have a glance every now and then. The major investment done by the company in improving the look and feel of applications is not meant only to be seen but also to experience when one works on it.
Another important aspect of INFOR, which gives life to whole user experience, is their Design team which is named as "Hook & Loop". The team consists of writers, developers, designers, filmmakers-all working towards the sole purpose of making customer experience more meaningful and better than ever before. User experience is the most neglected field, in designing of an ERP, which can give an enterprise competitive edge over others in the market. The team work towards UX objectives. They study, research, test their customers' requirement and create an experience that people love.
In the world of social networking, where we seek for our thoughts to be universally acknowledged, where everything said and done needs to be posted, where we like to remain connected with someone or other everytime, what would be more remarkable than having an application, where opinions of other can be sought on a particular task. Where if stuck somewhere, user can call out to people working on same application or can seek someone's help by just a ping. The option of social media widget being embedded into dashboard will surely work towards this. Perhaps that's the reason INFOR has released Ming.le, a social platform which not only collaborates a core system like ERP and financials but also allows to follow people and other objects. It is embedded as a part of an application, and can be accessed while working on an application alone. The communication is instantaneous and is stored at a centralized location which can be referred at a later stage also. The documents, photos, videos can also be shared amongst all employees. In this era of smart phone users, where it's easy to capture the problem in a frame rather than entering it in words inside a box, a user might feel expedient to upload the video and share it with like-minded people. How convenient will it be, if rather than typing every need or problem, it could just be shown to the concerned person..
But is user interface really that important? Do users really give a thought to the interface before buying a product? Or is it just something that I have been fascinated to? I couldn't help myself but to ponder over this.
My question was best answered by the below statement:
"As far as the customer is concerned, the interface is the product." - JefRaskin, Interface expert at Apple Inc (circa 1970).
And this might be the reason for INFOR's new advertising campaign "Work is beautiful", a campaign beautifully conceptualized by their designing team - Hook and Loop, and is featured on the cover page of Wall Street Journal, Feb 5. After all, who doesn't like to work on a beautiful, easy to use and simplified software.
The company has done a lot in the field of giving customers an experience to get addictive to. The approach of focusing on enhancing the user experience by designing the look and feel of ERP as close to daily working routine of user is different, refreshing and certainly innovative. This, I believe, will indeed bring a change into business software arena around the globe.