The evolution of the user experience (UX) is nothing short of remarkable. From Dieter Rams’ Blaupunkt designs in the 1960s, to the game-changing innovations of Apple’s iPhone in 2007 – the UX has expanded from individual design silos into the unified and much contemplated mission of entire organisations.
From Command Line to GUI
Since its inception in 1978, the SYSPRO UX has evolved in lock-step with technology. Consider the SYSPRO user interface (UI). Through the closing decades of the 20th century, SYSPRO users worked via command line in a DOS environment. Early SYSPRO offerings seem primitive by today’s standards, but they formed the backbone of companies around the world, and helped establish SYSPRO as a top contender in the competitive ERP market.
By the turn of the millennium, users were flocking to the efficiencies and aesthetic improvements of the Windows-based graphical user interface (GUI). The GUI revolution was a huge step forward. It encouraged a visual and intuitive approach to SYSPRO Impact that the command line did not. The GUI made SYSPRO friendlier and more appealing, opening the door for users of a less technical temperament, and easing the deployment of SYSPRO across entire organisations.
A Fluid Interface Design
With SYSPRO 6.0 came the next step in our evolution – the SYSPRO Fluid Interface Design. Changing the layout and content of a screen once required intervention at the programming level (it still does, for many ERPs). SYSPRO’s Fluid Interface Design placed the control of layout, design and functional attributes directly in the hands of the enterprise and its personnel. Since 6.0, users have been empowered to customize their own screens, displaying all the data they might possibly need, or dialling it down to the bare necessities. With the ability to customize screens the UX changed drastically, increasing user buy-in and enthusiasm, with net gains in data quality and productivity.
The power of the user-driven experience leads to quantifiable gains in efficiency. For example, when we simplified our own sales staff entry screen, removing all the old layers of automated and/or unused information, we found that the typical entry speed doubled.
Roles Enhancing the UX
One of the most powerful ways to ensure a productive and secure UX in SYSPRO is through the use of ‘roles’. Roles allow administrators to design list views and docking pane layouts and assign them to groups of similarly-tasked employees. This approach protects sensitive data from appearing in forms and list views, but still provides a customizable experience. Users within the role can be allowed to modify and personalize their screen layouts in ways they find most useful and efficient.
Staying Connected with Mobility
As the speed of technological advancement continues to climb, SYSPRO’s UX designers have responded in ways that increase productivity by empowering users. With the addition of SYSPRO Espresso, ERP has become mobile, creating efficiencies in a multiplicity of venues: sales, production, warehousing, up and downstream of the supply chain.
For salespeople, real-time information on stock quantities and shipping dates is never farther away than their mobile phone. For executives, production managers and others, Espresso means never being out-of-the-loop, no matter the time of day or how far from the office they roam. Using “active tiles” and the native ability of mobile devices, SYSPRO Espresso provides users with the freedom to fully customize their screens – without the help of a developer or having to carry developing costs for a better user experience.
The Cloud and Beyond
With the advent of the Cloud and all that it offers, our user experience continues to evolve. For multi-site companies, it enables the relatively simple and risk-free consolidation of multiple site operations. In addition, as markets heat up or cool down, usage can be scaled with minimal hassle, and without the worry of business interruptions. The Cloud also minimizes the need for expensive disaster recovery provisions. Since the servers are no longer on-premise, and data is stored across multiple servers, businesses are immune to debilitating occurrences such as flood, fire, theft, and sabotage. In terms of UX, the Cloud creates consistency, maintaining an identical experience from site to site, and even from country to country.
The Cloud offers unparalleled consistency and security, a superior support ranking, and the opportunity to save significant amounts of money.
Modularity means Simplicity
One facet of SYSPRO’s user experience remains unchanged – its modular design. Modularity has been a key element in SYSPRO’s affordability, usability and market appeal.
This modularity could soon extend to those iconic objects of our UX infatuation – smartphones. Google’s new offering still in development codenamed ‘Project Ara’, will ship to developers later this year, and to consumers in 2017. Other than a few core parts, such as the processor, memory and main display, most of Ara’s hardware is replaceable, upgradeable, and even hot-swappable. Whether Ara will catch on or not is anyone’s guess. Theoretically, if hardware developers embrace the new paradigm, consumers would have enormous flexibility in terms of cost, functionality and design. What works in the ERP market may not resonate with consumers, but it’s a fascinating development in the ongoing evolution of UX design.
Recommended Reading: Expanding the user-experience beyond the garden of apple