Social media is a part of our everyday lives and its widespread adoption has been influenced by consumers’ need to communicate, share, and consume content. The early rate of adoption to most social media platforms speaks back to the ease of use and how naturally these platforms fit into our daily lives. As a result of this, we expect all platforms, be it social or work, to be as easy and comfortable to use.
This is especially true when it comes to solutions that, in the past, have been restrictive rather than flexible in their nature of engagement, such as your enterprise resource planning system (ERP). ERP can be an incredibly significant solution for a business; if implemented correctly it can create a more efficient and productive manufacturing or distribution organization. However, the potential of the solution can be restricted depending on how the software is adopted and utilized by employees and the entire organization.
The proliferation of social media type applications means that there are now more options available that can help businesses ensure early adoption. By including social media-type functionality into the features and experience of the ERP user, vendors can make information exchanges and collaboration as gratifying and rewarding as collecting ‘likes’ and ‘followers’.
Driving Adoption and Collaboration through Engagement
Organizations recognize the need for improved collaboration and as the next generation of ERP systems emerges, social media applications are proving their value in connecting businesses internally and externally with customers and suppliers. Research shows that organizations with social ERP are 2.5 times more likely to have real-time collaboration across divisions and departments and will have seen profit margins improved by 22% in the past two years.
However, all the enhancements in the world will not make any difference to your rate of collaboration or increase productivity if your employees are reluctant to adopt the new software. Poor user engagement is one of the leading reasons enterprise software fails to deliver its promised results to a business. When employees are pinned to their desks, navigating endless screens to complete transactions that result in confusion, your new ERP solution may be destined for failure.
This situation is exacerbated by IT professionals who focus almost completely on software function over form and in doing so inadvertently dismiss the importance of creating a solution that is smooth, intuitive and seamless, capable of creating a connection with its intended audience.
I argue that the core technology underpinning ERP and the function delivered by the application is crucial, but equally, how the solution looks, feels and works for its users is relevant and important. If the user experience is good, your adoption rate will be higher, realizing business value quicker. Additionally, the workforce will be far more engaged, where multiple studies have shown that an engaged workforce is far more productive.
Personalization – the key ingredient
It is the prevalence of social media and mobile devices that drive users to ask for simple, intuitive interfaces. By taking into account the very things we all enjoy about social media (its simplicity, ease of use) and employing them in your ERP solution, you can encourage a higher adoption rate by your employees.
A social media-type platform gives employees the ability to personalize the appearance and functionality of their ERP software interface. This is a critical factor in increasing the adoption rate of new software. You are essentially giving the power to your employees to decide for themselves how the software can best suit their needs.
Personalization is unlocking vast opportunities for organizations. It facilitates acceptance and the rapid adoption of the technologies that are driving change; as your team becomes more comfortable, they will feel empowered to be more creative and innovative.
Through this level of personalization, your employees will be able to surface the information they require in real-time, ultimately becoming more effective and proactive. This facility becomes vastly more powerful when deployed via interfaces that your employees can customize themselves – without the need for additional development.
With these new capabilities, you are able to create a fun and effective way of communicating and engaging with your ERP solution, thereby streamlining business processes. Seamless connection between colleagues, departments, workstations, branches, territories, in fact, the entire enterprise, becomes second nature and results in a new and more collaborative way of working.
By choosing and installing software that offers a rewarding and engaging user experience, you can offer a compelling proposition to your employees, enabling them to achieve their full potential and deliver great results. It’s increasingly clear that offering an engaging user experience from your ERP software is no longer optional; it’s critical to the success of your business.