The success of ERP software can be determined by the extent of usage by the operation staff, middle management and top management. The more the usage by the staff of the different levels of the company more will be the competitive advantage gained by the company, which is ultimate goal of ERP software implementation.
The extent of the usage of the software is largely dependent on the ease of use and the simplicity of the features. Contrary to the common perception that if the user interface is attractive more will be the usage experience has shown that while this may be true to a certain degree it is not always the case.
We need to remember that the operational and the middle level managers of a company will be constrained for time and would prefer rapid data entry features to get the work done which means a less cluttered interface is preferred though it may not be attractive.
Vendors have conducted extensive research to come out with data which indicate widely used interfaces. However this information is highly guarded and the only way to understand the designed interfaces is to study live installations.
Periodic training programs will ensure that employees know which feature has to be used for a particular business process. This kind of training will make an ERP user have higher level of satisfaction and encourages more usage.
Customization of the software to match with the business processes of the company will allow users to identify the options and features more easily and encourage usage.
In this regard vendors should be ready to change names of the menus, forms and fields and report heading and column to suit the company's working. An awareness among the employees that more usage means lesser problems will encourage usage. In this regard, an incentive scheme linked to updated records is recommended.
Short lists which are helpful for the day to day working of the employee and also helping in decision making will lead to more usage.
A buggy software with unexpected down times will discourage users from keeping updated records. Enabling users to participate in the process of evaluating the software, training programs recognizing performers to use the software more is a good step towards usage.
Employees have to be gently persuaded to learn the habit of recording data after every activity. The usage of ERP software depends on the ease of use, the coverage of features and downtime.