Sage ERP X3 Version 7—ERP Usability A Game Changer?

Sage recently announced the launch of Sage ERP X3 Version 7, a new version of the company’s top-of-the-range enterprise resource planning (ERP) product that is being launched globally. Sage ERP X3 has long been a functional global business management solution for midsized companies, but the latest release is all about usability as being functionality (as well). In other words, engaged, informed, and delighted users means that they will more promptly serve their customers, and promptly served customers means more revenue coming in to the company.
Version 7 contains a comprehensive library of visual process maps (covering all roles); process maps were introduced two releases prior, with only a few process templates in Version 5 and about 100 in Version 6. So now users have many more shortcuts at their disposal and are able to go through processes much more easily. The product has undergone a complete rewriting of the platform in terms of how it translates for users. There is no more code on the client side, as the interface is based on HTML5, with a responsive design layout.
Though Version 6 was based on a browser user interface (UI), but it supported only Internet Explorer, and it wasn’t as smooth and streamlined as it is now (and many users thought other browsers were faster). Version 7 supports all common browsers and can be personalized by users. It also offers a variety of apps and comes with a mobility development kit, is compatible with iOS, Windows Phone, and most Android devices, and has the same look and feel regardless of the device.
And given that in many ERP systems today, a third, if not more, of the UI “real estate” is dedicated to menus and lists, it’s striking that there are no static menus in the Version 7 UI. User experience is all contextual now, with menus popping up as users hover over a field. In other words, there are no buttons that are always shown on the screen—the system shows only what users are looking at as the mouse hovers over a field. This removes clutter, and the experience is the same as that of browsing and navigating a consumer-like web site (though Version 6 contained social collaboration capabilities as well).
Again, usability is functionality too. But if it takes you too much time to navigate a system, how functional is it? As companies with more accessible and usable data appear to grow at a faster rate, this ERP release aims to bring flexibility and a redesigned Web and mobile user experience—giving all employees the relevant information needed to successfully do their jobs. This release has been a smart and pragmatic move for Sage, which, justifiably, or not, is not a technology trailblazer. Sage ERP X3 V7 seems to be at least on par with any ERP product in its mid-market category.
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