Mike Ettling explains how to streamline management for the modern workplace

Mike Ettling explains how to streamline management for the modern workplace

Unit4’s CEO tells Amber Hickman how the business is working with Microsoft to create user-friendly enterprise resource planning solutions for organisations  

Amber Hickman |

The modern workplace structure has changed significantly over the past few years, and one way that organisations can streamline operations and improve employee engagement is through the use of enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. 

“Technology and automation are pervasive in every aspect of the workplace and organisations are embracing tools that automate processes and reduce the number of mundane tasks that staff have to undertake,” says Mike Ettling, CEO of Unit4. “ERP systems also play a role in influencing company culture, with human resources systems that monitor employee engagement and motivation and identify whether leaders need to take action to reassure colleagues about company direction.” 

According to Ettling, Unit4’s goal is to “significantly shift the perception of ERP systems from being clunky, non-user-friendly, complex systems to more dynamic and responsive applications. ERP systems should be seen as a key enabler of agile, responsive organisations and the foundation of any business’s operations.” 

Unit4’s partnership with Microsoft is helping the firm to achieve this aim. “Our modern ERP platform, ERPx, is hosted on Microsoft Azure which provides our customers and partners with the stable, secure environment they expect, as well as predictable costs,” says Ettling. “The integration of our digital assistant, Wanda, with Microsoft Teams also means users can interact with the ERP system without having to engage directly with the application.” 

ERPx is designed to make the end-user experience efficient and is customisable to suit all needs. 

“ERPx is built on microservices and an open application programming interface, which means it is adaptable and customers can quickly add functionality using our extension kit,” says Ettling. “We are also developing industry models for the services-centric industries we serve to enable faster implementations with out-of-the-box functionality. 

“Furthermore, our Industry Mesh enables data integration to ensure a single view of company-wide data. Using this approach, customers can adopt analytical tools, such as Unit4 FP&A or Microsoft Power BI, to make accurate, real-time decisions and predict future impacts on performance. This intelligence allows senior leaders to balance the need for cost efficiencies with making investments and taking risks.” 

Unit4’s ERP solutions have already benefitted organisations such ABC-Groep, a Belgian software consultancy firm, and The East of England Ambulance Service. The latter adopted cloud-based Unit4 ERP. 

“This created a single, shared view of finances, procurement and planning, which has saved the equivalent of 50 per cent of one finance professional’s time and freed up resources for other critical tasks,” explains Ettling. “The software provides financial insights on the operation of the ambulance vehicle fleet and managers can review and approve invoices directly from their mobile devices.” 

The future of the modern workplace is relatively unknown, and so Unit4 is working to make its solutions as user-friendly as possible for any business. The aim is to ensure executives and human resource teams are more confident that business operations are running smoothly, so they can focus their time on other tasks that need their attention. 

“We are a people-centric company, so everything we do is focused around supporting our employees, customers and partners through what is a time of significant change,” says Ettling. “From a technology perspective, this means we want to build an ERP platform that simplifies how users interact with the application. Ultimately, we believe we can automate around half of the processes in the ERP system and deliver 10-second experiences, where customers only need to interact minimally with the application.” 

Unit4 is also looking at how new technologies like artificial intelligence can further streamline its processes for both employees and end-users in areas such as software development and customer service. 

“We are excited to be working with Microsoft to understand how we could use its generative AI capabilities to automate functionality and improve the customer’s experience of working with Unit4,” says Ettling. 

This article was originally published in the Autumn 2023 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription

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