Our survey of existing users of our MISys Manufacturing software earlier this year provided us with some valuable insights into how people are using the software and how they feel about the experience.
When asked what MISys should do, a significant number of respondents commented that making the software more "user friendly" would be a worthwhile endeavor.
I was contemplating this sentiment last night as I worked on a press release using my favorite word processor, Microsoft Word. I've recently converted to Word version 2010 -- the one with the "new and improved" ribbon menu.
Now I'm sure a lot of really smart software designers out in Redmond, Washington worked long and hard in an effort to make MS Word 2010 more "user friendly" than previous versions. To be fair, Word is a complex product (but not as complex as MISys Manufacturing) and I'm not sure whether anyone will ever consider Word to be "user friendly."
I don't know about you, but I've written thousands of documents in my career, and I've learned just enough about Word to do what I need to get done. There's probably much more in Word that I don't know how to use than what I do know. But that's OK. Word is a fine tool, a tool I use every day, and a tool I just couldn't do without. User fiendly? No, sorry.
I had the priviledge of working with the next version of MISys Manufacturing recently and I know the guys out in the labs have been working overtime to make MISys Manufacturing v5.0 more user friendly in response to last January's user survey. While I don't think MISys will ever become a "user friendly" product (like Word, it does lots of really complex stuff), I can tell you that the guys have made some significant improvements.
Going back to MS Word for a moment, one of the things that allowed me to become successful using the software was just learning how it was laid out -- where I should look for the functions I needed.
I think MISys v5.0 goes a long way in helping people understand what's inside the product and how to get to where you want to go. I can't wait until you see it!