Wouldn’t it be nice to be the architect of your own destiny? Sometimes it doesn’t take much to create real, noticeable improvements at work. With so much modern business conducted digitally, this often means changing and improving the software we use.
But this frequently proves to be a stumbling block. Have you ever found yourself wanting to make changes to your business software – such as streamlining a form in your ERP system to only display relevant information – but find yourself hitting a brick wall because the overheads are prohibitive? Even small changes to complex software systems like SAP can mean bringing in outside consultants and getting the necessary budget approved, or dealing with a stretched in-house IT department. These barriers can soon put an end to incremental improvements, despite having real value.
Even if you succeed in making the case for change, the implementation can take a long time. You need to explain your needs to someone without insider knowledge of your processes, and wait for them to actually make the changes. If all you need is a custom report, additional fields on a form, or minor changes to a workflow to make it less error-prone, wouldn’t it be easier for everyone if you could just make those changes yourself?
Customize your ERP system without coding?
That might sound like a tall order. Employees today tend to be highly computer literate, of course. We work in a digital environment, at home with tools like Excel and with creating search queries (“show me the sales data for January for product X”). But customizing business applications like ERP systems can prove a bridge too far – most employees are not coders and many business applications are not exactly user-friendly to customize.
However, solutions that bridge this gap with graphical interfaces are becoming more and more commonplace. You can find examples in fields as diverse as robotics, digital signal processing and game development. They are also making inroads into the enterprise sector – low code solutions like VisionX make it easy to generate custom reports, create forms and even implement your own business logic without coding skills.
Developers can thus spend their time dealing with “the things that really matter”, rather than tasks that computer-literate users can easily solve themselves (with the right tools). And if the solution also generates code in the background (Java in the case of VisionX), developers are still free to use their preferred tools as needed.
The right tools in the right hands
There’s an additional advantage to this approach too. Involving end users in the development process is far more likely to result in the “right” solution. After all, you probably understand your processes and tools better than anyone else. You understand the bottlenecks, know which steps are error-prone, and which information is hard to find. You understand your requirements and why they will make you more efficient. Plus, being directly involved in the process helps create a sense of ownership and pride, while rewarding a go-getter attitude. And reaping the benefits of your own hard work can be its own reward too! All it takes is an easy way to make improvements, sidestepping any red tape.
Being able to improve your own processes is a real advantage for SMEs, who often thrive or stagnate based on the ability of employees to optimize their own tasks. If you can identify a need and have a solution in place by the end of the week, it puts you in a great position to take advantage of being nimble. But if you have to wait months for outside consultants to customize your ERP system, or if improvements get shelved due to a lack of budget or interest from upper management, it’s easy for business processes to stagnate. This not only negates the advantage of being small and nimble, but also ends up frustrating end users. Battling sub-optimal processes on a daily basis is a thankless task.
There’s an app for that – and you made it!
VisionX tackles these problems head-on. Apps designed in VisionX can be standalone or built on top of existing solutions. It’s easy to create a form integrated with your ERP system, existing databases and other applications, and you get to choose what is displayed. The result is that you only see the information you actually need.
Imagine you regularly need to list all parts required for a product based on its bill of materials. All you care about are the part numbers, descriptions and quantity of each part, as well as the exact location in the warehouse. Any other information is just unnecessary noise that makes it harder to find the information you actually want.
Or maybe you need a checklist for service reps to work through before their work is signed off by your customers. Ideally, this would work on mobile devices to be used in the field. Again, you can easily create your own workflows in VisionX. You can focus on what really matters – which spare parts were used, what maintenance was carried out. The result is an easy-to-use interface that guides reps through the process and eliminates common errors, e.g. by determining which fields are mandatory. These efficiency gains soon add up, meaning more time spent delivering real value to your customers rather than maintaining records.
Whenever you identify an improvement or your business processes change, the power to make changes to the software are in your own hands. After all, business processes are not set in stone. They evolve constantly, due to both internal and external factors (regulatory requirements, technological advancement etc.). Being flexible and quick to react to changing market conditions is a competitive advantage, and needs more than a one-size-fits-all solution.
If you are interested in finding out more about how a low code solution can work together with your ERP system, contact us for a personal demo.