ERP systems can hamper productivity and business agility, global IFS study says
A global study carried out by IDC on behalf of IFS reveals that less than a third of companies find their enterprise applications intuitive and easy to use. The study examined the importance of usability and flexibility in enterprise applications among companies in the USA, the UK, Germany, France, Benelux, Scandinavia and India.
Today’s global business world is more complex and interconnected than ever, constantly posing new challenges on productivity and business agility. There is therefore a growing demand among companies for enterprise applications that are intuitive and easy to use. The survey clearly shows that ERP providers must improve their software in order to meet these demands.
“The study proves what we at IFS have known for many years: usability and agility are vital for companies in terms of productivity. IFS will therefore continue to focus on usability and user experience as these will be areas of key importance going forward,” IFS CTO Dan Matthews said.
The survey, based on interviews with C-level respondents in seven different industries, verified that usability and flexibility are important considerations when evaluating enterprise application software. The most notable findings were:
- Less than one third (29%) find their enterprise applications intuitive and easy to use
- More than half (60%) consider some tasks a waste of time when using the enterprise applications
- Almost half (45%) expect noteworthy business changes to take place within the coming 12-24 months and 82% of these respondents believe their business applications need modification to support these changes
- 44% believe their enterprise applications have a negative impact on business agility
Anders Elbak, Research Manager at IDC, commented, “The research clearly proves that while being essential for running a company, enterprise applications are likely to hamper productivity through unintuitive user interfaces, poor integrations, difficult navigation and insufficient search functionality.”
Even though a large majority of companies (60%) considered usability when purchasing a new system—24% of respondents even held it as the most important consideration—less than one third (29%) of all respondents were running intuitive and user-friendly enterprise applications—compared with the 2008 IFS study on the same topic, in which 64% of companies reported usability as an important aspect and 42% regarded their systems as easy to use. This suggests that expectations about how intuitive and user-friendly ERP systems should be have been raised in line with the general trend of ‘consumerization’ of software applications and smartphones—a development that will prioritize usability as a consideration for companies evaluating new systems and as a design factor for software companies.