A guide to ERP UX for mobile

Dealing with the development of User Experience (UX) selection requirements are always an interesting challenge. First, the needs of a particular user group are always skewed by various individual perspectives, and this is further exacerbated by necessary business rules applied within a given enterprise.

Today, however, things have gotten even more complex. Not only are ERP user interfaces (UI) typically developed and produced on the basis of on-premise, or cloud-based operational tenets; but they are also driven by the integration of mobile ERP functionality, which tends to create its own sets of technical conditions. Therefore, while conventional selection processes still apply, there are a number of specific UX issues that enterprise managers need to focus on with when it comes to selecting a mobile ERP.

Creating an internal UX ‘RFI’

To begin, it should be understood that all relevant queries must orient to the user side of the internal requirements goal, not necessarily its technical side. By this, I mean, when focusing on mobile ERP UX values the particular RFI should be largely driven by ‘what the user wants, or what he/she might want to say’, rather than what enterprise management ‘wants’; or what operational options or functions may apply to one system or another.

Recommended reading: once you have your mobile ERP UX requirements figured out, ask vendors for more info on their software using our comprehensive guide to creating the perfect RFP.

To begin, create a short questionnaire that encourages users to describe what they like in a mobile ERP system by means of a 1-5 priority scale. For example questions such as; field data entry must be simple (1-5), information must be returned from the home system quickly (1-5), how important is security in your field work etc? Once again, create your own list based on your own thinking, but each question should be created to ask the user what he/she wants, not direct management to close a process loop, since what you’re looking for here is to gain a sense of your users’ operational ‘tendencies’, rather than simply trying to drive the workforce toward a particular platform standard.

Once management has compiled all necessary responses, the company should be able to establish gross and selective totals for each question. In turn, these can serve as a general ‘user tendency’ baseline.

Create a target list

Once you have the baseline in hand, the next step is to create a target list. This bit of research is really useful when filtering research on possible selection candidates. For example, when reviewing candidate systems, if a particular system offers no performance metrics in terms of time required after a field query is executed, and the baseline mobile UX analysis suggests that the enterprise says that desire is a 5, that product should go to the bottom of your target list. On the other hand, if ease of use is a 5, and the candidate system offers similar performance guarantees, then it should move up to the top of your target list.

As an example; a completed resolution set might include:

1. Is mobile ERP access critical to your job? - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

2. How important is mobile project management to your team ? - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

3. Is speed of mobile operation critical? - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

In turn, these elements should be compared with feature/functions guarantees to define a particular selection.

Nevertheless, regardless of your target candidates, in the end of the day this ERP UX evolution creates two central user/management values at the outset of a selection process:

1. Canvassing users early on, clearly establishes that the enterprise wants to hear workforce opinions and that they are likely going to be valued properly.

2. The priority mechanism allows management to hopefully be able to define and leverage candidate systems that easily meet the workforce’s tendency set. Consequently, this impact tends to marginalize many change management challenges up front, while at the same time, it saves time, cost, and turbulence at the back end.

So there you are, a little selection exercise driven by the UX, but ultimately results in a holistically positive change management value. Now, how much better can that result get?

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Rick Carlton

About the author…

Rick Carlton dba PRRACEwire, has worked as a tech journalist, writer, researcher, editor and publisher for many years. In addition to his editorial work, Rick has also served as a C-Level executive/consultant for a wide-range of private and public sector U.S. and International companies.

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Rick Carlton