IFS, a provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications plans to enable users to integrate information from websites and mobile devices into its ERP applications following customer feedback.
In a survey IFS conducted with 355 UK IT decision-makers, 95% said that their current ERP software was inflexible to use as the needs of the organisation became more dynamic, for example, incorporating information into business processes that was not held in a database.
"With global supply chains and extended business networks, companies are exposing more of their systems outside the walls of their own organization," said Dan Matthews, IFS CTO at a keynote briefing today in Berlin.
The next version of IFS Applications 7.5 will have a web based interface called Aurora for traditional ERP systems to enable better management of both database and web based information. Respondents said this would make it easier when transferring data from one application to another, and who wanted better search capabilities when looking for information used by different ERP applications.
Matthews said the influence of consumer technologies on the design of enterprise software meant that more customers were now asking for applications that were more intuitive to use.
"Customers have said that the 'difficulty to search for and find information' and 'poor navigation around and between applications' are among the top time wasters when using enterprise software. By embedding enterprise application, key information is found quicker and easier as a result," Matthews said.
Gartner analyst Tim Payne said the inclusion of web 2.0 and greater integration in ERP applications was becoming a standard feature in modern ERP packages. For instance, SAP's Duet software integrates with Microsoft office applications to transfer data, and Lawson's ERP system integrates with IBM's Websphere middleware.
"The challenge for most IT managers purchasing new ERP software is to digest how best to use these new features within their business processes," he said.