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Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP Boosts Productivity Through Usability

You may read this and think: productivity improvements? Again?

Yes, improved productivity seems to be on every ERP vendor’s checklist of benefits whenever a new product or feature is released. And that’s because inefficient and rigid systems continue to be a major pain for companies and organizations everywhere.

Inflexible systems overwhelm, overload, and frustrate people – the employees, managers, customers, vendors, and partners who are working hard to make things happen and grow their business. According to a report from Forrester, there is a deep-seated dissatisfaction with business applications because they are inflexible, don’t address processes that cross business functions, and don’t match the business’ requirements. (The Future of Enterprise Applications, Forrester 2007).

Indeed, a study from AMR Research (The Enterprise Planning Spending Report 2005-2006, AMR Research 2005) found that only 15% of employees are licensed to use their company’s ERP system and that 46% of licensed ERP seats go unused. And when people don’t use the system, business productivity declines, growth slows, and even business critical processes can be compromised. Because, it doesn’t matter if standard operating procedures are in place if no one in the organization can access, see or enforce them.

Therefore, it’s not surprising when Forrester concludes that “poorly designed user interfaces can profoundly affect the bottom line. The expenses associated with a bad UI, over the course of the application’s lifetime, may end up being many times the cost of the application itself.” (The Future of Enterprise Applications, Forrester 2007)  The report continues on to explain the costly implications of a bad UI, including increased new user training times, a decrease in productivity and poor user adoption.

So why then is Microsoft Dynamics AX different? We claim improved business productivity, too, but does our solution deliver on this promise? And, if so how? What makes Microsoft Dynamics AX so special?

The answer is usability. The easier a software application is to use, the faster employees are able to adopt it and thereby enable the organization to reap the benefits the system provides. A study conducted by the consulting group, Keystone Strategy, found that companies who have successfully deployed IT capabilities throughout the organization – meaning that people are really using the software – have been able to profitably grow their revenues.

At the core of more agile, usable applications is the human experience, or what Forrester calls Design- for-People requirements.

“Design-for-people requirements place the businessperson’s work at the center of business applications’ human interface. The businessperson’s work is the organizing structure for a workplace into which we plug transactions, business processes, content, unified communications, social networking, and tools. Instead of people having to figure out how to apply collaboration tools to their jobs, ad hoc activities are integrated with structured work in these unitary, contextual workplaces.” 

Microsoft Dynamics AX has been designed to meet “people-ready” requirements; specifically, to improve business productivity by improving usability and increasing the reach of the solution so a larger percentage of employees have access to the system.

Learning a new software application or having to learn many different ones can slow down productivity. If a new user is familiar with the application, learning and using new applications becomes much easier and faster. The user interface in Microsoft Dynamics AX has been changed to improve the user experience, the learning experience and leverage the successful design concepts from the popular applications most users spend time in on a daily basis: Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint, Windows, and Internet Explorer. Working in Microsoft Dynamics AX is like working in other Microsoft programs that most people are familiar with. 

Yes, Microsoft Dynamics AX delivers on the promise of productivity – by offering unsurpassed usability, easier collaboration and communication, and comprehensive business insight capabilities. Microsoft Dynamics AX was designed with people in mind – making it easier for them to work, collaborate and make informed decisions more efficiently.

Microsoft Enables Connected Organizations

Today’s social connectedness, mobile devices, and growing opportunities for interaction “any time any place” have changed the way many live and work. People are increasingly dependent on connections across the global network—interlocked in this connected reality.

Modern business solutions not only connect people inside and outside the organization, they also give them context and insight which drives better decisions and boosts productivity. An important part of Microsoft’s mission is to drive connections with people, with customers and with business partners across processes, data and the ecosystem in which organizations operate. This commitment to connected organizations includes the vision of anywhere, in-context collaboration services that links people and companies to the right people in the right place, in the right context, at the right time, across multiple avenues of communications. Microsoft business solutions include everything from email to voice to video to presence to social – all designed with a singular goal of giving people and organizations more effective ways of:

  • Leveraging the exploding number of channels to connect with customers at the time and place of their choosing;
  • Creating an inclusive, listening organization by extending collaboration scenarios that exist internally to include customers;
  • Evolving from an organization that engages with individual customers to one that leverages the crowd to benefit the brand

Microsoft’s commitment to connected organizations is about removing the impediments that generate friction within the organization and providing people with a broader array of insights and actions across internal and external connections. With greater transparency, agility, and insight, people can make better, more informed decisions, and transform their organization into a Dynamic Business.

It is the impassioned individual equipped with the right tools that enables companies to stay ahead of the competition in this world of constant change. Microsoft transforms organizations into Dynamic Businesses that enable people to do their best work no matter where they are in the organization. We are already seeing the impact as customers make the transformation, and Microsoft is committed to delivering modern business solutions, built using the broad portfolio of Microsoft technology, with intentional simplicity as a core design element. The solutions are innovative, proactive business applications that help users work in new, more effective ways. Moreover, they deliver tools for a connected organization to drive data to insight to action any time anywhere, with the flexibility to deploy and consume business workloads and suites in a way that delivers on today’s needs while also providing the ultimate flexibility necessary to be ready for the future.

Microsoft Dynamics AX for IT Professionals

IT teams are responsible for the computers, networks, and software applications that manage a company’s operations, track financial transactions, and enable people to communicate and collaborate throughout the company. Without a smooth flow of information through a company’s IT systems, operations would not be efficient or even possible in some cases. IT managers need to monitor the day-to-day health of complex systems while simultaneously tracking innovations in technology that might create competitive advantages.

Microsoft Dynamics AX makes the job of connecting systems and exchanging information easier for IT professionals, and in many cases, it happens automatically. Microsoft Dynamics AX enables your end-users to access information by themselves, so IT professionals can concentrate on higher-value tasks.

  • Reduced costs. Microsoft Dynamics AX is built on a standard Microsoft platform, which helps your company reduce costs. You may already use many of the supporting technologies, such as Windows, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Office, or Microsoft SharePoint. If so, you won’t need costly, time-consuming retraining to benefit from Microsoft Dynamics solutions.
  • Familiar user experience. Microsoft Dynamics AX operates like other familiar Microsoft applications, such as Microsoft Office. The RoleTailored user interface provides access to the data and insights needed for individual roles or departments, making Microsoft Dynamics easier to learn and use and helping to reduce IT support requirements.
  • Responsive to change. With a flexible and standard architecture that takes advantage of Microsoft .NET components, Microsoft Dynamics AX enables you to quickly and easily respond to changing business conditions. This helps ensure that your business software is adaptable to your changing business needs.
  • Simpler end-user reporting. Microsoft Dynamics AX helps make important business information more widely accessible in your organization, giving the right people access to the right information at the right time. By using Microsoft Dynamics and Microsoft SharePoint, you can provide straightforward access to information via a Web browser. And because Microsoft Dynamics AX is built to work with familiar Microsoft Office programs such as Outlook and Excel, your people can use familiar tools to perform additional analysis.
  • Flexible deployment. Microsoft Dynamics AX is available either on-premise or in a Cloud ERP model, providing you with flexible and cost-effective deployment options.

Microsoft Dynamics AX helps you gain more value faster with a single, powerful solution that supports industry-specific and operational demands across your global enterprise. It's unprecedented agility adapts and grows with you, allowing you to expand business operations, modify processes, and differentiate your business. Microsoft Dynamics AX is simple to use, deploy, and manage - and delivers real-time access to the data and processes needed to drive your business forward.