June 6, 2018
“We want our application to be like Facebook, and the search part like Google”, Enterprise customers often say. I might as well throw in a Boolean filtering system like Amazon while I’m at it. The truth is, Facebook, Google and Amazon have been developing their platforms for years and with billions of dollars. On top of that, their solutions are consumer-facing, while Enterprise applications are clearly not. Enterprise apps instead tend to deal with security, system integrations, massive deployments, and more. Not to mention, enterprise productivity apps are not designed to drive likes, comments, and sales. They are designed to improve productivity.
Is UX really an important investment for Enterprise applications?
I mean, the end users are employees and have to use the system anyway, right? What's the added value in paying a bunch of researchers and designers to revamp the system? Everyone already knows how to use the current software, even though it’s from the same era as Pong. Everyone loves Pong.
While these points may be true, they’re missing the mark. With more and more millennials entering the workforce, a clean interface and intuitive experience is expected. There is no reason to make things difficult for end users. Remember, their time is your money. Investing in the UX of an Enterprise Application will actually garner you a return on your investment.
Take for example, a simple timesheet application. If your employees spend 5 minutes a day entering time, but a UX overhaul shortens that time to 2.5 minutes a day, you have just increased the productivity of your entire workforce by 100%. That’s impressive. Another way to look at is if you managed a company with 50 employees who all made $60,000 a year (for argument’s sake), that small UX change and the savings of 2.5 minutes just saved your company $67,600 in lost productivity.
That’s a good chunk of change, no?
The era of crappy, dreadful, nasty basic systems is coming to an end. Companies and applications using design centered practices to deliver intuitive time saving experiences to the user are winning out. Not to mention, as mobile devices change the landscape, those old-school dreadful systems will never pass the scrutiny at Apple to be allowed in the app store. I mean, you want beautiful easy to use apps on your phone, right? So why not in the workplace?
Having a great UX is certainly hard to achieve, but it is a reasonable target. A good user experience will help drive employee adoption, increased productivity, a clear return on the investment, and all in all will set you ahead of the competition.
We may not be willing (for all the right reasons) to deliver a business Facebook with a Google search engine using an Amazon filter, but we owe it to the workforce at large to at least deliver beautiful, fluid, engaging Enterprise Applications. Amirite?