Enterprise resource planning systems must, by their very nature, serve the needs of a wide variety of people, and the implementation of these systems can result in the needs of one person being sacrificed in order to meet the needs of another. In an article on Forbes.com, Dan Woods does a nice job of laying out the pitfalls and frustrations attending ERP and other monolithic business software.
We particularly like the article because he mentions Alan and credits him for formalizing the use of personas, but it’s also a sophisticated look at how system design is begging for effective tools to understand the network of human needs that must be balanced in order to create effective solutions:
…[S]ome users get more value from software applications than others. This is because software is written from a certain user perspective. In many cases, the problems and challenges faced in making software work can be explained by the tension created when the design of software is dominated by one perspective over another. In CRM systems, for example, the sales reps who must do the work of entering data about contacts and meetings often must be bludgeoned or bribed to do so. They get little benefit from such tracking, as opposed to the VP of sales, for whom the data is a vital way to understand what is happening.
Check it out “One Software Doesn’t Fit All” on Forbes.com.