Usability of a Business Software Solution for Financial Follow-up Information of Service Contracts
Abstract: Enterprise Resource Planning systems have been available since the 1990s and come with several business benefits for the users. One of the major advantages is improved decision making through current and accessible information about strategical, tactical and operational levels of the organization. Although several Enterprise Resource Planning system vendors provide several features for contract management, more decision support regarding the total profitability of service contracts is desired by the customers. Estimating the total profitability of service contracts is a challenging task for all service providers and implies a lot of manual data processing by the contract manager. This master’s thesis is conducted in collaboration with IFS World Operations AB and aims to investigate how functionality for budget and forecasting of the profitability of service contracts can be designed to be usable in terms of effectiveness. The implementation was performed iteratively and the resulting prototypes were evaluated and refined throughout the project. The final high-fidelity prototype for budgeting of service contracts was evaluated using the task success rate in conjunction with the System Usability Scale to assess how well the system conformed to the needs of the users. The study revealed that two of the key characteristics of financial follow-up information of service contracts is the support of creating a budget and graphical visualizations of both budgeted and actual values. The final usability evaluation indicated that the developed functionality was usable in terms of effectiveness and has an overall usability clearly above the average.
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