As discussed in our previous article, the benefits of self-service portals are not only considerable, but proven.

So much so, that 60% of organisations are looking to implement a self-service portal within the next 12-18 months. While each organisation, yours including, will have its own unique set of requirements, we believe there are a few key features that every organisation should look for in a self-service portal solution.

By making sure any potential self-service portal solution possesses these, you are helping to ensure that your organisation can achieve maximum benefits from the technology.

Extensive self-service capabilities

Regardless of whether you are considering a customer or a supplier portal, if your organisation is truly going to feel the full benefits of self-service technology, it is imperative you select a portal that offers your customers and/or suppliers as much self-service functionality as possible.

While the tasks that you are able to allow your customers and/or suppliers to perform themselves may vary from other organisations due to the nature of your business, it is important that you try and introduce self-service functionality for as many of your processes as possible. For example, most organisations should be able to allow their customers and/or suppliers to change their details subject to approval.

It is also important that you look for a self-service portal that issues clear confirmation to your users once they have performed an action. This will help to to ensure that your customers and/or suppliers do not contact you to confirm their action, negating the purpose of your self-service portal.

By allowing your customers and/or suppliers to self-service themselves, you will not only benefit from huge cost-savings in terms of your customer and supplier interactions, but you will also give your staff more time to spend working on value-generating tasks, while also satisfying your customers’ desire to be able to take care of matters themselves.

Integration with your existing systems

One of the many benefits of a self-service portal is the fact that it greatly reduces the amount of manual work for your team. To really benefit from this though, it is important you look for a portal that can be integrated with your existing relevant systems, which in your case is likely to include your Unit4 Business World (Agresso) ERP system.

This will help to not only ensure that any actions performed by your customers and/or suppliers are accurately and instantly reflected (subject to approval) within your Unit4 Business World (Agresso) ERP system without the need for manual inputting from your team, but also that your team, and your customers and/or suppliers, have a shared consistent view of any relevant data, helping to put an end to unnecessary costly support interactions.

Our Customer & Supplier Portals are fully integrated with Unit4 Business World (Agresso) ERP, meaning any changes that are made through the portal, such as a change of account details, are immediately passed through to your workflow for checking and approval. Thanks to the full integration, your customers and/or suppliers can also view and download their transactions at the click of a button, as well as much more…

It can help with payments

Often organisations think that when it comes to finding a solution that will enable them to accept online customer payments, they need to invest in a specialist income management solution.

The best self-service portals include this functionality though, enabling you to drastically increase the efficiency of your Accounts Receivable process at a fraction of the cost of a specialist income solution. Our Customer Portal enables your customers to make online payments 24/7, while the integration with Unit4 Business World (Agresso) ERP means payments can be automatically matched to the correct invoice within your system, with the clearing of the invoice reported back to your customer within minutes.

If it is a Supplier Portal you are initially more focused on, you should also consider how any self-service portal solution could help you increase the efficiency of your accounts payable process, with this crucial to the overall success of your organisation. Our Supplier Portal helps by enabling your suppliers to submit indexed invoices, which are automatically imported into documents for registration within you Unit4 Business World (Agresso) ERP system.

Make sure its accessible

With self-service portals being external facing solutions, it is important you consider how your portal will appear to your users, and how they will access it.

70% of customers expect organisations to have a self-service application on their website, so this naturally seems like a good access point. As standard then, we offer website integration and single-sign on access for our Unit4 Business World (Agresso) Customer & Supplier portals, ensuring that if your users have website accounts, they only needs to sign in to this to access the portal. We also as standard offer the ability for our portals to be customised to meet your own branding guidelines, ensuring a seamless experience for your users.

For security purposes, we also offer you the option to secure all logins with two-factor authentication as standard, should this level of security be something you require.

Easy installation and configuration

While the ROI calculation for introducing any self-service portal into your organisation is often hard to argue against, it still makes sense that you would want to choose a portal that can be easily installed and configured. Ideally for cost and time purposes, you should look for a solution that can be self-installed and configured, such as our Unit4 Business World (Agresso) ERP Customer & Supplier Portals.

As well as your own internal onboarding, it is also important you consider how easy it would be for your customers and/or suppliers to get started with your portal. At the end of the day, the benefits you are able to acquire from a self-service portal depend on their engagement with it.

Our Customer & Supplier Portal tackles this by enabling your customers and/or suppliers to only have to sign-up once for all the organisations they are working with that have our portal. This means that if they already have an account with us there is no need for them sign-up again when you invite them to use the portal. This helps to ensure that Unit4 Business World (Agresso) ERP users can benefit from a self-service portal that their customers and/or suppliers can get started with quickly and easily.

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