As every manufacturer should know, enterprise resource planning systems are only as powerful as the people who use them. The end users of any software, especially one as power as Microsoft Dynamics NAV, will often have their own take on what works and what doesn't. When implementing new systems, the focus has increasingly been on the people who may be hesitant if not resistant to using it. However, obsessing over these people alone can lead to problems with deploying it. The important thing to remember is what regular users would want to make things better for overall productivity. Making them happy will be just as necessary as getting everyone on the same page.

A lack of happiness
A recent study by consulting firm Redshift Research cited by Information Week paints a less-than-rosy picture of the ERP situation for many businesses that use it. While 80 percent agree that this software is necessary for their operations, a majority of them rate their ERP as "basic" or "adequate" at best. This indicates that many users are unhappy with the features this software tends to have. There is also a belief that current ERP systems utilized by many are still reliant on dated interfaces that only benefit power users who spend a lot of time on them.

Mobile access, or lack thereof, is another issue uncovered in the survey. Of those who responded, only 25 percent said they could access their ERP software on their smartphones, while 21 percent said they could do so on tablets. This can present some major problems, especially when it comes to collaboration in situations such as using a warehouse management system. Running mobile WMS, for example, can make a major difference in completing orders efficiently without having to resort to a nearby computer station to determine the location of items.

Give them the goods
With this high level of unhappiness in play, what is it that users want? The survey noted that having the benefits of ERP software realized as quickly as possible was the first goal, followed easy-to-use interfaces. However, the third point that was being brought up is collaboration with suppliers and customers as well as among workers within a given company. By utilizing this mechanism, users are able to provide some level of visibility and transparency to other parts of the supply chain, and work on ways of making improvements as they go along, according to ERP Focus.

Along with these features, effective industry support is another thing that users want, especially small to midsized manufacturers that may not have a large and dedicated IT staff. By getting proper tech support, companies will feel more assured about using the software.

Business intelligence is also becoming an increasingly important feature that companies want to use in ERP software. Data analytics can provide answers to important questions related to productivity and efficiency. Power BI represents a positive step in this direction for any Microsoft Dynamics implementation, including NAV, by combing powerful analysis with a simple-to-understand interface. Having all of these features in place will make users far happier in the long run.

Learn how to define your ERP strategy by downloading the white paper entitled "ERP in Manufacturing: Defining the ERP Strategy" from the DMS website today.