Improving the Usability of Enterprise Systems

a Case Study

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In today’s interconnected and dynamic world, sharing knowledge within a company and streamlining its workflow can be a significant source of competitive advantage. As a matter of fact, the literature consistently shows that firms which invest in Enterprise Systems tend to perform better financially and have better retention rates. However, technologies are not always a panacea, and companies often face challenges in their adoption, implementation or usage.

Starting with an analysis of the literature on knowledge, knowledge management and software usability, this thesis proposes a set of guidelines to improve the usability of Enterprise Systems.

The methodology combines qualitative and quantitative elements, with two rounds of interviews and two questionnaires. The first round of interviews explored the needs of users, while the second round validated each guideline individually. The two surveys were instead sent before and after the implementation of the guidelines in order to measure their impact. The questionnaire used for this procedure is the Software Usability Measurement Inventory, the industry standard to evaluate software usability.

This thesis is a qualitative research and, as such, it is characterised by low external validity. Its most relevant limitation is the fact that it is based on one single case study. However, the methodology followed a strong combination of interviews and analytical surveys, which strengthened the results with a deep qualitative analysis and statistical significance of the findings.

Future research could replicate the same procedure in different companies or via another questionnaire to test the validity of the guidelines. Furthermore, this thesis did not differentiate users based on their software skills, which is an interesting variable that could be investigated.