User adoption for enterprise applications is critical, especially in an era of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or even BYOA (Bring Your Own Application), and the main way of improving satisfaction and adoption of enterprise applications is to improve the user interface.
Increasingly, enterprise app vendors are recognising that in order to increase user satisfaction with their solutions, interfaces need to be as user friendly and intuitive as possible; on a level with the types of user interfaces seen in the consumer sector (i.e. Facebook, Twitter or online booking platforms). Nobody would expect to be trained on how to use the functionality in Facebook or Twitter, however many enterprise applications require hours or even days of training before a user can be deemed ‘fully functional’. Analysts have even cited that 80% of enterprise apps succeed due to their ease of use, hence it is of critical importance that new products and functionality upgrades are developed with immediate use in mind.
Users expect to be able to sit down and immediately use an application, with little to no training. A founder of a CRM app called CRMNext found that the main reason that 50% of CRM application deployments failed was due to difficulty and complexity experienced by users. Additionally, employees expect to connect to services from a range of devices, in the same way they would access their consumer applications from a web browser on a desktop or via their tablet or smartphone with minimal effort. Compare that with a traditional desktop application that has no mobile functionality, and the gap between the consumer world and the enterprise world becomes glaringly obvious. Combined with the fact that many of these consumer applications are free or low-cost, employees quickly lose patience with applications that can sometimes have cost millions to purchase, implement and manage, but which still do not work and adapt to their evolving expectations.
Research cited in a recent article by Forbes highlighted that well designed software interfaces are proven to lead to higher productivity levels as users spend less time figuring out how to use unintuitive applications and more time interacting with the tool. As PC Advisor put it, “the difference is customer experience”. Users must be able to install and be up and running immediately, without reading a manual on how to operate the application.
Vendors are therefore looking to make their applications slicker, simpler and low on bandwidth requirements so that apps can be accessed quickly and easily online and through mobile devices.
Despite this progress, the cost of simplicity is high – as simplicity for the user is often a result of lots of backend technical work performed by the central IT team to ensure that all tools integrate seamlessly. Instead, IT teams should steer away from the speeds and feeds of IT and instead look at developing valuable ‘business partnerships’ with their application users to ensure more productive and optimised usage of apps across the workplace in the beginning, rather than trying to retrospectively integrate disparate systems.
If you are interested in knowing more about the consumerisation of enterprise applications then read our whitepaper on “The Consumerisation of Enterprise Applications”.