A few years ago, when we started developing SeniorERP, we had to make a few choices about the technology used on the new ERP system. We had to answer questions like: how to deal with client/user specific requirements? How can we keep our UI design simple, yet modern? How can we build an ERP user interface that can be easy to use and fun to work with? (We were strongly determined against a grey-looking user interface!) How do we get the complex technical stuff out of the way and focus on the business aspects? How do we support customizable print and reporting capabilities?
SeniorERP is a complete ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution for medium sized distribution and logistics companies, developed by Senior Software. Their focus is to provide customers with cutting edge technologies for best performance with low TCO.
SeniorERP: Building an ERP UI
Our target for the ERP system was a 24/7 high-volume usage model for the operational users and a mixed reporting solution made of print-ready reports and a complex and powerful BI reporting module through pivot UI.
Our operational business users, working sometimes more than 10h/day, were complaining about the grey-looking classic UI and the lack of productivity caused by bad UI design. Managers demanded powerful, customizable, drill-down reports that at the same time could be printed, exported or emailed. IT support needed powerful debugging/diagnostic features and a resource-friendly application. Our developers were demanding stable components and a decent technical support with an elegant and simple API designed around framework design guidelines.
Choosing Developer Express
After a few weeks of evaluating through prototyping, we felt that DevExpress components were the best UI components on the market. Other component suites offered a similar level of productivity boost for business software but lacked the level of completeness and user-centric design that is required for a modern ERP system. We felt impressed by the level of run-time customization available in the grid and tree components and with the advent of the LayoutControl we now have the most customizable ERP system on the local market.
This level of customization greatly simplified the developers’ work because they didn’t have to build a lot of similar UI again and again. They are now only building a single (or a few) UI and deliver to the customer a few base-level layouts that can be further customized to the client needs.
Another thing we have learned from our customers is that post-sales services are critical for business infrastructure applications. Before we decided to buy DXperience, we evaluated both product and post-sales support quality. We were impressed by responsiveness and professional skills of DevExpress support staff and by the enthusiastic community built around DXperience.
We also resonate with DevExpress fairness of handling different customers’ requests in the pre-sales step. It was the first software components company that has the nerve to say no to unreasonable requests. We like it when our strategic partners are vertical.
DXperience Provides The Solution
We strongly believe that building modern successful business software you need to keep your focus mostly on the business of the software and get the technical aspects out of the way, while still be on the edge using the latest UI design principles.
Being a complete UI component framework, DXperience helped our developers find quick solutions to all of their complex UI requirements. Also, having a good and stable API designed around developer productivity allowed our developers to quickly implement complex UI scenarios.
Operational end-users are pleased with the ability to change the color theme of the application (all of them are using a skin theme) and with the ability to customize various layout in the application (grid and tree and LayoutControl). Reporting users are amazed by the run-time customization and drill-down capabilities of the reporting module.
I would say that you have to respect the end-user and the developer. Make their work pleasant by giving the end-user a beautiful, modern-looking and productive user interface and by giving to the developer the proper tools to be highly productive.
The original case study can be found here