Why do so many ERP platforms still make their users suffer?

From the Editor

ERPs are meant to make work easier, so why are so many still so tough to use?

Is it because they're not focused on what you need and how you need it to do business? If so, why and what do cloud ERPs focused on People Experience do differently? Let's take a look.

Holger Mueller of Constellation Research has written a paper on how
Unit4 pushes the ERP Platform to the next level

ERP software pain points

The pain most users feel with older or more product-focused ERPs can be quite severe. It typically comes from one of two root related causes: they're hard to use and hard to change.

But what causes these "pain points"? Well, usually it’s:

Lack of people-focus

Designed with products in mind, not people; these ERP platforms struggle to offer you great experiences. Usability is tricky, slowing you down and making jobs harder than they need to be.

Legacy tech

Often they're built on tech that’s been around for some time. Either the ERP’s been there for years, or the ERPs available haven't changed in years. Meaning integration with newer systems can be difficult, and your people struggle to use them due to outdated UX design.

Rigid architectures

The ERP software was designed to be rigid and reliable over everything else, and they are. However, this makes changing them more complicated. Updates, integrations and new processes are harder to adopt, blocking innovation and smarter working.

Leaving you with cumbersome and unsuitable ERP solutions focused on products and built for record creation and keeping. How usable they are was an afterthought as long as they could do this.

Changing these uncompromising systems once in place is painful. But what's the alternative?

What ERPs should be like

Modern cloud ERPs focus on People Experience; taking a holistic approach to what the system does for you, how it does it, and most importantly, who it's for. Studying how people use the system at work, even (or especially) when the system meets other systems.

Here, usability becomes as vital as accuracy because accurate data is useless if no one can use it. And integration becomes as vital as reliability because it doesn't matter if your system always works if you can't work with it.

Couple these benefits with a cloud-based platform and you have an ERP solution that delivers People Experience and purpose. Letting you connect from anywhere, do anything and change as your business grows.

What suffering do cloud ERPs remove?

Cloud ERPs are always connected, easier to use, and simple to integrate with other systems; and by designing for People Experience, they get rid of:

Integration issues

Older ERPs are often self-contained and don't play well with other systems.

A modern, people-focused ERP integrates easily with the systems you rely on to get things done. Creating shortcuts, not headaches. Using "mesh-ups" to help you work faster and get rid of annoying workarounds or pointless processes.

Data access

Older systems are great for storing data; using it, however, that's a different issue altogether.

With cloud ERPs, data works across all systems and processes. All using better People Experiences to take the pain of data analysis across different systems and sources away. Because all your data is stored in a single shared space on a cloud that's always available.


Older ERPs can struggle to connect different systems and sources of data and taxonomies; leading to doubt in what people are using and where it's from.

People-focused ERPs connect more and understand how it all relates. Letting all your systems talk to one another, giving you data certainty and making analysis and automation simpler.

Unclear comms

Systems that struggle to integrate work slower. Making it harder for you to get things done when managing multiple systems.

Modern cloud ERPs focus on centralizing data and messaging and making it as adaptable, flexible and available as possible. Creating a single data and messaging hub for your people. Helping create better People Experiences by removing data drag and confusion and giving you an almost "real-time" environment.

The Result

By not focusing on people, many ERPs are failing their users for small gains like cost saving.

People-focused, cloud ERPs fight this by focusing on People Experience first and making usability the critical driver of the ERP software. Usability and usefulness become fundamental.

Couple this with cloud integration makes modern ERPs more flexible, natural and useful. Helping your people engage, be more productive and genuinely happier at work.

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