Friday's Feature: Snapshots In Enterprise 2.0 UX/UI – Microsoft Dynamics

Published on February 6, 2009 by R "Ray" Wang


Usability and User Experience Matter in Enterprise 2.0 Apps
Welcome to the first in a series of Friday’s Features showcasing the latest and greatest in enterprise apps usability.   Many ERP software vendors including Epicor, IFS, Infor, Lawson, Microsoft Dynamics, and Syspro have made significant progress in improving usability as they progress to Enterprise 2.0 apps.  As mentioned in a December 29th, 2008 post, customer expectations for Enterprise 2.0 apps include users rich user experiences, actionable insight, and business process orientation. The impact of overall user experience and user interaction often tie back to seven key Enterprise 2.0 characteristics:

  1. Richer user experiences – role based scenarios across various usability paradigms
  2. Business process orientation – support for end to end business processes
  3. Configurable change – designing with flexible models and rules instead of customizations
  4. Actionable insight – pulling all the key information to make a decision in the context of business process and user role
  5. Collaboration – providing secure private interactions and open and innovative connection with stakeholders
  6. Intelligent response – responding to contextual models and business events
  7. Hybrid deployment – deploying all models from on-premise, hosted, instance virtualization, multi-tenant SaaS, and cloud based BPO.

Part 1:  Microsoft Dynamics Highlights The Power of Role Tailored meets Microsoft’s “Rainbow Stack”

One key design point in the Microsoft approach is a role tailored approach based on the Microsoft Customer Model. Microsoft’s usability team modeled 1 corporate group, 5 departments and 61 personas.  These roles form the design basis of how users interact with process, data, and interface. The result – improved usability which reduces complexity, increases focus, promote likely actions, pushes information, supports collaboration, and ensures flexibility.   Add better adoption of Tools and Technology from the Microsoft Tools teams enables better integration with key products such as SharePoint, Office, Performance Point, and Project Server.  Here are a few highlights of the role tailored approach in action:

  • Role tailored view – ( Prakash, a project manager using Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009). From the Microsoft Dynamics Customer Model -Prakash is part of the professional services team and is responsible for project delivery.  He works with Reina (i.e. Resource Manager), to provide adequate resources and staff.  He has approval authority for all project related changes as well as any other materials changes.
  • Role tailored view – ( Eduardo, a production planner using Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009). From the Microsoft Dynamics Customer Model – Eduardo manages scheduling and planning of production. he often needs to reshuffle existing orders to make room for more urgent orders. He considers exceptions to be the rule.
  • Role tailored view – ( Stan, a small business owner using Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009). From the Microsoft Dynamics Customer Model – Stan manages the business from start to finish. He is responsible for everything and has to understand every aspect of the business
  • Role tailored view with analytics – ( Sammy, shipping and receiving using Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009). From the Microsoft Dynamics Customer Model – Sammy manages shipping and also receives goods and verifies them against purchase orders. He also supervises other warehouse employees.
  • Role tailored view with analytics – ( Ken, Controller using Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009). From the Microsoft Dynamics Customer Model – Ken tracks the departments’ financial goals. He continually improves processes to achieve financial goals.  he proposes and helps implement changes to optimize performance. He may approve documents and payments.
  • Environmental sustainability dashboard highlights analytics capability. Microsoft’s new solution attempts to meet growing demands for environmental sustainability by government regulations and litigation, NGO’s and media, business and consumer customers, financial markets and risk assessment, and employees. Using Microsoft Dynamics AX, a new environmental sustainability dashboard brings in information from a multitude of sources to help determine issues such as, “How green is my supply chain?”
  • Performance Management Balanced Scorecard demonstrates integration to Performance Point. Users can configure corporate scorecard, map point, corporate strategy maps, and other web parts in Microsoft Dynamics AX.
  • Office Integration with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 highlights native advantages.  Based on Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 eliminates redundant data entry by enabling integrated data exports with Word, Excel, and Outlook.  Users of Microsoft Excel 2007 can build custom reports from an OLAP database and create Pivot Table Views via drag and drop metaphors.  Other 0ut of the box integrations include Microsoft Office Project Server and Microsoft Office Share Point Server.

Software Insiders Point of View Photo Stream (click image for details)

(Source: Microsoft Business Solutions, Microsoft Dynamics)

Your POV.
Do you like how your apps UI currently look?  Will user experience lead to cost savings for you?  Is this enough to make you want to switch?  What do you think of Microsoft’s UI?  Post your thoughts or send me a private email to rwang0@gmail.com.

Friday’s Feature: Snapshots in Enterprise 2.0 UX/UI

  1. Epicor 9
  2. Eshbel Priority 13
  3. IFS Applications 7.5
  4. Lawson SmartOffice 9.0x
  5. Microsoft Dynamics AX and NAV

Next Friday’s Feature: IFS’ iPod like user experience

Copyright © 2009 R Wang. All rights reserved.

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