ERP Usability – A Brief Overview

By Jim O'Farrell on January 30, 2011

ERP Usability? What’s the fuss? Where did ideas for ERP usability evolve from? Sometimes we see these terms and really don’t have an idea where they came. Since I have been digging into this a little bit recently as part of my ongoing studies, I thought I’d discuss some of the basic principles of technology acceptance and how these principles come into play as it relates to ERP usability.

Although research on ERP usability has been around and evolving for quite a while, the issue is still critical and clearly ERP usability is still a challenge with enterprises worldwide. With an estimated market of $38 billion, the widespread adoption of ERP systems has received well-deserved attention from the research community on this topic for decades now. Companies worldwide continue to seek to maximize their ERP software investment while increasingly relying upon these systems to meet basic information management needs. These needs relate to focusing efforts on increasing the degree of integration across data sources, and enhancing business decision-making by moving ERP implementations to more flexible architectures. However, while ongoing implementations of ERP systems are increasing, usability of these systems is not following the same growth rate and in fact, is flat-lining. This situation continues despite proven potential for greater productivity and reduced training by increasing usability.

So, stay tuned and watch this blog channel as I take us back to the basics of usability and review some of the principles of ERP usability including attitude-behavior theory, the theory of reasoned action, Davis’s infamous technology acceptance model, right up to the latest thinking as it relates to Topi’s research into ERP usability and the collaboration approach to technology acceptance. Should be fun times!


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