So many things go into an ERP decision. Just like you wouldn’t buy a car or a house without doing your due diligence in your personal life, you wouldn’t go about making an ERP purchase without first understanding the product, how it works, and how it makes your job easier.
However, if you go into an ERP decision strictly on functionality, you are setting yourself up for failure. People need to be able to use the software. Just as you wouldn’t opt to buy a car with a manual transmission unless you knew how to drive stick, you shouldn’t fall into the trap of eschewing usability for functionality.
Think of it this way, tier one ERP options designed for multinational enterprises are going to provide the most functionality, but by no means can a user pick up the solution with a few weeks of training and know how to use it. For companies like yours, who don’t have a multi-billion market cap, vendors deliver a functional product for your needs, but also focus on designing a product that your team can use.
Something we discussed in a few recent blogs on importance of an intuitive user interfaceand the ‘three-legged stool’ of ERP software, business management products need to provide a powerful and functional platform, the ability to use it, and a way for users to learn more about using it. Following our last blog introducing the newest functionality in Acumatica R1 2019, we would today like to discuss how the company has made it easier for people to learn and use it.
Acumatica Makes Product More Usable than Ever in R1 2019
In addition to functionality improvements in Acumatica, the company has added a variety of new features to make the product more usable:
Acumatica Open University: A New Way to Learn
There are many ways to learn about using your ERP software. While you may learn how to complete necessary tasks for your role during the implementation process, taught by highly qualified professionals (like us), sometimes you need a refresher or need to learn something new.
To make this a reality for users, Acumatica introduced Open University, a learning platform that can help anyone to learn the skills needed to realize the full potential of Acumatica. Offering a wide variety of learning paths, Acumatica Open University can help consultants, end users, and developers to understand best practices in Acumatica and better ways to use the platform. Available to current customers, you can access Acumatica Open University here.
Usability Enhancements: How Acumatica R1 2019 Makes Your Job Easier
Added to other key functionality enhancements ranging from the addition of Machine Learning technologies Alexa for Business skills, and industry-specific enhancements, Acumatica has worked to make your job easier. Among the ways the company has improved the user interface:
Highlighting Inquiries provides visual clues on rows or columns of a generic inquiry based on customized conditions that have been introduced. Based on the alerts required, the system will highlight certain elements of a generic inquiry. For example, when inquiring on “opportunities”, the resulting grid can show those opportunities that have been won in green, those that have no owner in yellow, and opportunities that are late in red.
Side Panel Details
Side Panel displays the details of a row on an inquiry screen. Changes to the data can be made in the side panel and the information displayed in the panel can include data or dashboard graphics without leaving the inquiry screen. In 2019 R1, significant improvements have been made to the Side Panel UI for improved usability.
Constantly Improving Search Results through Machine Learning
Machine Learning delivers a wide range of benefits for businesses. A topic we’ve discussed in an earlier two-part series (see part 1and part 2here), Acumatica uses ML to deliver predictive, intelligent, and continuously improving help menus in their latest update.
Inquiries made in the HELP menu inform the system what was useful and how to provide better help recommendations over time. Based on how effective the response to a natural language search has been, the system knows if it is serving up the correct results and adjusts.
Personalized Company Colors
A small but sought-after improvement is one that allows your business more customization. Custom color gives the company the ability to personalize the primary color of the company’s user interface. In addition, for multi-company or multi-branches, a different color can be specified for each branch to make it easier for employees to distinguish them.
Add Links to Files That Already Exist and Attach Files More Easily
Throughout your use of an ERP product, you will generate a lot of files and documents associated with transactions. Prior to the 2019 R1 update, the process of adding new files was not as easy as it could be. 2019 R1 now provides the ability to easily add links to attachments that already exist in the system. Once files have been attached to one document within the system, the user can then add a link to the stored files right from the form to which the file should be attached.
User Defined Fields
Too often the process of adding fields in an ERP software is a task left for developers. However, Acumatica has made it easier to add fields as defined by users. User Defined Fields can be used in a customization project to add new fields in multiple forms in each of the modules without a programmer. If the field to be added has not already been defined, the user can define a new field by managing attributes on the pop-up attributes form.
Progress Bar: Understand How Long a Process Will Take
If you have to process a lot of data or complete a task that takes a lot of time, knowing how long it will take will save you a lot of headaches. To address this, Acumatica has added a progress bar for long-running processing. This features a pop-up window that provides insight to the completion percentage, as well as the elapsed and remaining running time of the process. The window has tabs which record the job status, including: Processed, Errors, Warnings, and Remaining. Because it runs in the background, users can do other work in the same browser tab while the long-running process continues.
MIBAR and Acumatica
At MIBAR, we work with a variety of innovative software platforms that help business users do more. One of these platforms, Acumatica, is built to provide the flexibility, functionality, and usability that businesses like yours need. Whether you are in the market for a new solution, a partner who can help you do more, or a team to save a “failed” implementation, we’d love to help. Get to know more about our work and contact us for more information.