What do you value about enterprise software? If you’re a buyer, features and functions probably top your list. If you’re a user, you also value functions, but enterprise user experience (UX) is critical. Unfortunately, at many organizations, the buyers and users are different people.
This can cause issues because buyers focus on the promised benefits and functions, but they might not put much thought into the ways the program may be used on a day-to-day basis. For the end-user, poor enterprise software design can make their jobs more difficult while also contributing to a wide range of other issues.
Below, let’s look at enterprise UX and some of the reasons why usability is so important.
Software used by a business or a large organization is typically much more specialized and complex than applications designed for consumer use. From the medical field to manufacturing and the financial sector, enterprise software often requires deeper capabilities. This is true even if some of the same principles are at play. You wouldn’t use a consumer budgeting tool to manage the finances of a multi-million dollar corporation. The smartphone app you use to control home automation devices would be very different from software that manages industrial machinery.
The design of software for enterprise use can often be clunky — which is a result of the increased functionality and complexity. The more capabilities a piece of software has, the more confusing it can be to operate. But the stakes of having an effective enterprise UX design are greater than those for consumer software. Mistakes at this level can be catastrophic for the organization. Think about it like this: Making a mistake with medical records could result in harm to a patient, and that could then lead to a lawsuit and damage to the organization’s reputation.
When software isn’t user-friendly, many employees create workarounds or take shortcuts that create a patchwork of processes. When everyone is doing things their own way, the workflow can slow down and accountability is reduced.
Usability can also influence security. When people use different workarounds and tools that loosely fit together, the organization can be exposed to more threats and there could be issues with regulatory compliance. When enterprise tools are easy to use, user interactions are more predictable, making it easier to track user actions and maintain security.
In many cases, the people tasked with researching and purchasing software are generally not the same as the people using it. When buyers aren’t also users, they tend to focus on what a software product claims to be able to do. While the capabilities are important, there’s so much more that goes into designing enterprise applications that will serve an organization well.
If a software tool has poor usability, it can frustrate users and hinder productivity. Even with strong capabilities, weak enterprise UX can impact the user’s ability to achieve the desired result. This is why enterprise software purchases need to consider usability along with features and functions.
Using software that offers a smooth enterprise user experience enables multiple levels of an organization to get on the same page via process standardization. Rather than each employee having their own unique process for achieving a task, the organization can have a set process that everyone can follow. With standard processes, you can reduce the need for extensive training, and it can also improve collaboration and communication among departments.
If you’re a software provider, designing easy-to-use enterprise applications can help you build products that will better serve your customers while also staying ahead of UX trends. With software applications equipped with capabilities your customers need (in a format that offers increased usability), you’ll build a reputation for creating superior software products, ones that truly help users and organizations achieve their goals.