A Quick Tour of Sage ERP Accpac Order Entry 6.1A
The initial release of Sage ERP Accpac 6.1A will include all the Web Screens for the Order Entry module. We started showing these Web Screens publicly at the North American Sage Summit conference which I blogged on here. We had a number of sessions where we ran through the Order Entry process, entering an order in SageCRM using our Quote to Order features, then bringing that order up in the new Web Screen, charging a credit card using Sage Exchange all run from a Web Browser. We got quite a good reception to what we were showing. We received lots of suggestions, many of which will be incorporated in the final product.
At Summit, we had a usability lab where we assigned partners and customers tasks in Order Entry and then observed how well they did completing these tasks. Out of this testing we will be making a number of adjustments to the screens shown below. Things like moving the disclosure panels for Customer Info, Custom Fields and Sale Split up above the table (right now they are below and don’t show on the screen shots below). Move the Ship-via Code out of the Customer disclosure panel and into the regular header fields. Users had a bit of trouble because Tabbing isn’t quite working and if you hit F5 the browser refreshed, but these problems will be fixed by release. Generally the Users we tested at Summit were quite good and we set a record in the percentage of tasks completed.
All the screen shots in this article are from the July 26, 2011 build of Accpac 6.1A. The product is rapidly evolving as we finish the functionality and refine the design. We make extensive user of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) that allow us to change the product quite dramatically in a simple manner.
All the screen shots were made running in the Google Chrome browser. Mostly because this is my favorite browser, but also to show that we now support more than IE. The main goal of this multi-browser support is so we can run on tablets like the iPad along with Macs as well as the regular Windows PCs we’ve always supported. I like the Chrome browser because it’s very fast and seems to display web pages the best.
The first screen shot shows the new Order Entry screen running in the Sage ERP Accpac Portal. For regular Accpac users this screen should still look familiar, but updated to a more modern appearance. This is the screen and notebook tab where you would do most of your data entry. Here you would enter all the detail lines that make up the order.
Once you have entered all your detail lines, then you would go on to possibly confirm the sales tax information from the Taxes tab. And then go to the Totals tab to confirm the order totals and possibly give a discount as shown in the screen shot below:
Generally as a mid-market ERP product there are quite a lot of fields in Accpac’s various records. For instance in the Order Detail record which is displayed in the table, potentially a user could have to do quite a bit of horizontal scrolling to access all the fields. Plus we now have the detail optional fields in line in the table rather than in a popup resulting in even more columns. Of course you can customize your table to set the field widths to anything you wish and from the View menu on the upper right corner of the table you can re-arrange the fields and hide fields you don’t use. However Accpac has always had the concept of a “Zoom” form where you can get a form view of all the fields in the table. In fact the zoom form gives you access to a bit more information than is available directly in the table. With 6.1A and the Web UIs we have preserved that and you can bring up a form or zoom view of the table as show in the following screen shot:
As we’ve designed the new Order Entry screens we’ve tried to keep the information you need as handy as possible without completely cluttering up the screen. We’ve used a number of techniques to accomplish this including notebook tabs, disclosure panels and popup forms. The popup forms can be run from buttons or from hyperlinks. Below is a screen shot where the user clicked on the quantity available link to get a popup showing the quantity available by location.
We are very excited to be finally rolling out Web Based Accounting Applications. We’re hoping that only requiring an URL to run will reduce TCO for all our users. We are hoping that the new improved designs will make learning and using the product much easier.