Technology Record - Issue 30: Autumn 2023

54 INTERVIEW Streamlining management for the modern workplace Mike Ettling discusses how Unit4 is working with Microsoft to create userfriendly enterprise resource planning solutions for businesses 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 servicescentric industries we serve to enable faster implementations with out-of-thebox functionality. “Furthermore, our Industry Mesh enables data integration to ensure a single view of companywide data. Using this approach, customers can adopt analytical tools, such as Unit4 FP&A or Microsoft Power BI, to make accurate, realtime 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.” BY AMBER HICKMAN “ Everything we do is focused around supporting our employees, customers and partners through what is a time of significant change”