Corporate software are complex and powerful tools. For company employees who must use these applications, this complexity can be a considerable challenge. Just as the technology mass market is flooded with more ‘usable’ products, more and more, company employees around the world are looking for more intuitive, easy-to-use and efficient software. So if you are not evaluating usability when choosing corporate software, your technology selection process is flawed and you may be incurring hidden costs.
When an organization implements a corporate system, it looks for productivity gains. From the perspective of a Technology or IT Director, it is assumed that internal user groups can and will learn how to use the new systems, as well as become proficient enough to allow the organization to enjoy the benefits. But when the choice of system is done poorly, this result is far from being assured.
What can happen?
Companies that are not concerned about the usability of their technological tools, letting employee use experience take a back seat, may fall into a trap, with serious consequences such as:
Decrease in productivity
Diminishing productivity of employees because the routine or critical processes are more time consuming with the new tool.
Unable to see the benefits of the tool, users simply do not accept using the new system.
Decrease in motivation
Diminished motivation and an increase in employee turnover due to the imposition of the new system, especially among the new generation (millennials), accustomed to products with excellent usability and who consider the quality of the work environment indispensable.
In addition, the company’s IT department, normally responsible for supporting enterprise software, may face an unexpected increase in demand for support and become overwhelmed.
Of course there will always be some employees who resist change of any kind. However, if a company imposes the use of a system that users view as difficult to learn, master and integrate with processes, employees will see it as a change for the worse, and will resist.
Why does this happen?
Some corporate software developers do not pay enough attention to the wants and needs of users. In addition, some companies do not demand that their solution suppliers deliver products with sufficiently high levels of ease of learning, usability and efficiency.
In these cases, suppliers end up building applications that suite their own perceptions of user needs, produced by engineering teams that have a lot of control over user interaction and interface requirements.
The result is a product that reflects the mental models of engineers, which may differ dramatically from those of end users, making applications unnecessarily complex and full of dispensable functions (featuritis).
In order not to fall into this trap, it is imperative to identify and select enterprise software developers that meet not only your technical requirements, but who understand the user experience as a determining factor for the successful implementation and use of the tool in organizations.
These suppliers typically incorporate Agile Methods and User-Centered Design into the development of their products. These strategies differ from other more traditional methods in which products are only developed with a focus on delivering business objectives and functions, where the end user has to adapt to the designed interface.
Agility and design
Developing software using Agile Methods and User-Centered Design requires – in addition to identifying customer requirements and predicting how they will use the product – building testable prototypes, evaluating them with actual users, collecting feedback based on behavior pattern metrics and, when necessary, creating alternative solutions to solve problems, resuming the testing cycle to validate the proposed solutions.
The agile method
It is a continuous process that does not end in the design phase of the product, as it is necessary to respond with agility and efficiency to the market and user needs, as failures or opportunities for improvement come to light with the use of the product.
Products conceived under this view tend to have greater user acceptance, provide higher levels of user satisfaction, are more quickly incorporated into company processes and, consequently, provide greater gains in productivity levels.
It is necessary to humanize technology to deliver solutions that help people’s day-to-day lives so they can deliver better results to organizations. Before thinking about features, we need to solve problems. Before thinking about software, we need to deliver solutions. And most of all, we have to think about the end user.