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How to evaluate usability of manufacturing ERP software

What's the best way to evaluate manufacturing ERP software usability?

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Usability evaluations should first take into account the roles of the users. Once you have key scenarios built into place, you should let users of various roles test the software.

For example, a screen or application for the shop floor foreman should be designed for rapid data entry, while a reporting screen designed for a power user would have much more complexity. With roles defined, usability should be designed with the "end in mind." What reports and information are needed by the user to make a decision? What common tasks should be set up so the user can quickly address these issues? What scenarios and channels must the system support for this role?

A key part of this would be how to support administrative tasks by the business user. How easy will the software be to maintain and support RICE (i.e. Reports, Interfaces, Customizations and Extensions)?

This was first published in September 2008

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