You’ve finally done it.You’ve heard the complaints from users that their software doesn’t help them be productive, and you’ve seen the evidence in the numbers.
You’ve researched productivity tools, you’ve talked to IT, you’ve consulted stakeholders, and you’ve weighed the costs and benefits. And now, after a long and costly process, you’ve purchased or created a new business app and deployed it to your team.
Now, all that’s left to do is train the team on the new tool, and wait for productivity to skyrocket. So, you wait. And wait. And wait. But nothing changes.
Why? Based on our research, there are a few reasons that can explain why a new business app isn’t generating the expected return on investment (ROI):
1. User research wasn’t a priority.
The success of an app depends on how much time you spend with users before an app is purchased or built, not after it’s rolled out. User experience (UX) can make or break the success of a business app, and the first step to good UX is user research. Why? To achieve high user adoption, you must understand what your users want to accomplish and how they want to accomplish it.
An intuitive, friendly UX doesn’t just mean it has a slick user interface. It also doesn’t necessarily mean the interface functions logically. The logic of an engineer, it seems, may not match that of a salesperson.
An intuitive, friendly UX doesn’t just mean it has a slick user interface. It also doesn’t necessarily mean the interface functions logically. The logic of an engineer, for example, may not match that of a salesperson.
Intuitive means the app functions based on what a user “feels to be true.” Getting to the core of what a user feels to be true takes a lot more user research. This means you can’t just put the word “intuitive” into a scope of work or request for proposal (RFP) and expect it to play out well for your company.
2. The app only works for certain users.
User experience isn’t one-size-fits-all. Business apps that must be used by everyone, but only work well for some, can impact productivity just as much as an all-around bad UX.
Take sales applications, for example: while many sales forecasting web applications can provide valuable data to company leadership, sales reps often lament that having to manually enter that data doesn’t help them sell. The best business apps are the ones that provide substantial value to each user.
If your business app isn’t designed intuitively around your specific users and your business processes, the app will slow people down to the point that they may stop using it altogether.
3. User or business needs changed.
The shelf life of most business apps is less than 24 months.Often, a year can go quickly by before you’ve done your user research, written requirements for developers, sold your idea to stakeholders, added your app to IT’s growing backlog, and finally rolled out a new business app.
In that time, user and business process needs may have changed.What was mission-critical a year ago may now be water under the bridge. Your “new” business app may already feel old, because it is no longer relevant to the people who have to use it. You’re back to square one.
4. Business processes didn’t change.
If a process itself is already inefficient, not even the most state-of-the-art technology will make a substantial difference.Automating a bad process will not deliver the ROI you’re after. Instead of looking for business apps to help you be better at an existing process, think about how the process could be entirely different.
Ask: Is this process the best way for us to achieve a key business goal? What can be removed or added to produce the best result in the least amount of time? Then, ask how technology can make a different process possible.
5. Data is still siloed.
Even with a different process and a great user interface, your user experience will suffer if you can’t get the right data into the right hands at the right time. Often, the right data is siloed across numerous apps and platforms, and a lack of access can lead to misinformed strategic decisions, inaccurate sales forecasting, or sub-par customer service, all of which hit productivity hard.
Data inaccuracies often occur when data is housed in disparate locations, subject to more human error. Best-in-class business apps unify data into a single UX and eliminate manual data entry wherever possible.
6. It’s not your first new app.
When it comes to quickly addressing current, urgent needs, many organizations resort to buying multiple one-off applications to solve productivity problems.
One-off apps may appear less expensive and time-consuming than customizing a generic system with thousands of lines of code. But with every new add-on tool comes greater UX fragmentation and potentially more data silos.
In the end, businesses may find themselves trapped in a fragmented, inefficient system (or group of systems) that they’ll never have the IT staff, or the budget, to customize or unify with code.Again, adding another app may lead to greater abandonment instead of the ROI you expected.
As you strive for greater productivity, there will always be obstacles to overcome. Innovators face these challenges head-on and find ways to leap over walls. If you’re ready to lock arms with other innovators and truly rock the world of enterprise software, check out more tips for enterprise software success: Download our free eBook now!