Tuesday, April 01, 2008

MS Aims for ERP Software That Makes You Happy

Jacob Nielsen helps Microsoft shoot for usability ...

"Microsoft hopes its efforts to improve the usability of its Dynamics ERP (enterprise resource planning) software can give it a boost in taking on more-established rivals like SAP (NYSE: SAP) Latest News about SAP AG and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) Latest News about Oracle.

Jakob Nielsen, principal user experience manager for Dynamics at Microsoft, told an audience at the company's Convergence conference that ease-of-use upgrades in the next Dynamics version could prove attractive to the many dissatisfied corporate ERP software users.

"When it comes to emotional connections with business software, it's not so positive most of the time," he said. "Hate is probably the word used more often."

Love Your Software

Nielsen said his job is to make sure the next version of Dynamics, called "AX 2009" and due out later this year, meets the elusive "desirability" needs of users.

He noted that the Dynamics user-experience team worked with students at the IT University of Copenhagen and with AX 2009 beta testers to improve usability. The company also allows beta users to provide feedback and vote on proposed features at its Microsoft Connect portal, Nielsen added.

"We really needed some method where we could get people ... to express their emotions when they used the product," Nielsen said.
Making It Easy

The team has already used the feedback to create "role centers," or Dynamics templates tailored for specific jobs, he added.

John Elmer, vice president of information systems at the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization in New York, said that workers testing the software at his firm are so far impressed with its ease of use.

"We think they really got it right on this one," he said. "Things really came together, and we've got a lot of happy people."

The multiple-division company represents an array of entertainment artists and productions, and has complex business processes, according to Elmer."    (Continued via CRM Buyer)    [Usability Resources]

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