If you’re anything like me, the mere mention of enterprise software, HR portals, intranet sites, CRM, elicits a mental groan. I’m too busy to use a system that’s cumbersome, ugly, and impossible to customize. If you think that makes me sound spoiled, then you’re right.
I’ve been spoiled by beautiful and functional apps in my personal life, like Uber and Starbucks.Your employees have also been spoiled by amazing apps that make their lives easier.
There’s often a vast disconnect between the consumer apps your employees use to manage their budgets and book hotels and the enterprise software they use at work eight hours a day. You might be thinking, “That’s not my problem,” but ignoring enterprise software design can cost you money in the long run.
Lost productivity is lost money
Back in the 1990s, some groundbreaking IBM research showed that better software design could reduce the time to complete tasks by 9.6 minutes per task. This translated into internal savings of $6.8 million within the first year. Other research and case studies helped prove this wasn’t an isolated case.
Researchers found that principles of great software design could be applied across a broad spectrum of applications, processes, and products to achieve similar results.I’ve heard the same story about increasing productivity from Skuid customers again and again. My favorite comes from a top financial services firm.
They estimated that redesigning a few standard pages in its Salesforce application saved at least 15 seconds per call in its customer service center. That may not sound like much, but those seconds multiply fast, freeing up enough time for each rep to serve four more customers per day. With 300 call center employees, the firm can serve over 300,000 more customers every year.
Support and training costs add up
Even though many different types of people use enterprise apps, too often the design only meets the needs of one type of user. For certain users, the app’s interface might work fabulously. But other users in different departments might feel intimidated and inhibited by the very same system.
“Once the buying decision is made, many enterprises will plow forward with expensive training or oversight programs to enforce usage of the system as-is, rather than admit to core usability problems,” says Ken McElrath, Skuid’s president and CEO.
“In hopeless protest, users refuse to use the system, recommend a rip-and-replace, undermine the buyer, or worse, post Dilbert cartoons in their cubicles.”
Once the buying decision is made, many enterprises will plow forward with expensive training or oversight programs to enforce usage of the system as-is, rather than admit to core usability problems.
Rather than requiring users to adapt to a painful user experience, the ideal user interface should adapt to the role of the user. When this kind of adaptation happens, startling results follow. According to a Gartner Group study, redesigning the user experience around the unique needs of each group increases user satisfaction ratings by a whopping 40%!
The study proves that when UI design matches user needs, job satisfaction improves dramatically.Why is job satisfaction so important? It leads to employee retention. Research shows that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs, on average, 6 to 9 months’ salary.
If the employee makes $40,000 a year, that's $20,000-$30,000 in expenses. Because hiring is very expensive, the cost-to-benefit ratio of improving user happiness alone may justify the cost of a design overhaul.
Low user adoption spells failure
Even when your executive team sees the value of the software, there’s no guarantee your employees will use the tools available to them. If using a particular system makes your employees’ jobs harder, adoption will be an uphill battle.
After all, we’re emotional people. If we have a negative emotional reaction to using a system, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome that response. Poor adoption can negatively affect the KPIs your company was trying to improve in the first place.
This problem could also spell the demise of your project, with low user adoption cited as the reason for 70% of all failed CRM projects, according to Forrester Research.
User adoption comes from value.
User adoption comes from value,” says Shannon Hale, Skuid’s director of user experience. “Build a system that meets your employees’ needs every day, that helps them anticipate what they need to do, that helps them get their work done more efficiently, and that solves problems for them, and you’ll get adoption.”
It’s important to consider all of the cost savings if you’re considering a enterprise software design overhaul. You should also consider the risks of inaction. Staying the same might look like the safe option at first glance, but with all of the benefits listed above, refusing to adapt might be the bigger gamble.
“Enterprises now realize that, like Uber, competitive disruption can be achieved by taking bold new approaches to business reinvention through use-case-focused apps with simple, human-centric interfaces,” Ken says.
“Usability is not about pretty design. It’s about your bottom line.” Ready to reap the benefits of better enterprise app design? Download our free eBook to learn how!