Enterprise is a world apart from t-shirt toting start-ups and design shops. It deals with more employees, more customers, more money, and overall has many more moving parts.
The same goes for enterprise apps – they’re a world apart from their consumer counterparts, and have to deal with things like security, multiple user profiles, legacy system integration, and a hundred and one other problems and challenges.
Oh, and it all has to be stable out-of-the-gate, because rolling out iteration after iteration isn't practical for business users.
User experience tends to work in the t-shirt wearing world, but there’s a culture in large Fortune 500-esque companies that user experience isn’t really needed for internal systems.
The end users – employees – are going to use it anyways, right?
And that’s a fair point.
But we have a firm belief that products should be easy to use and look great at the same time. That argument might not fly with a COO, but some of the following reasons certainly will.
A good user experience will save you money
The biggest challenge to getting user experience in scope for an enterprise app is that it’s seen as useless.
On a project that's probably costing 5 to 6 figures, UX is seen as a superfluous cost.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
A good UX will mean the employees spend less time on the app (in a good way) and more time doing their jobs.
Let’s say a company is building an app for their sales team to check sales data. Without good UX, the resulting app is pretty much a spreadsheet.
Yes, it contains all the information it needs; but it takes 5 minutes of intense pinch-and-zoom to get what you want.
With good UX, it has an at-a-glance dashboard, with easy options to drill down into specifics.
Now, it takes only 2.5 minutes to get all the sales data that they need, and gets the sales team back on the road faster and more informed. Saving 2.5 minutes might not sound like much, but that's actually a 100% increase in productivity.
Spread across thousands of reps, it means huge improvement in productivity, and overall savings for the company.
Employees are consumers too
Employees used to the absurd ease of using Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. In their spare time, they’re all over Facebook Messenger.
Enterprise organizations need to take a page out of the consumer-facing book and work to provide the same level of experience.
Not only will the end product be more intuitive (saving money on training) but the end users will be happier and more willing to use the app every day.
Think about the sales team checking their internal data – it's beneficial to the company to have an informed sales force. Make the info accessible, and the users will access it more.
Get ahead of the curve
The era of dreadful internal systems is slowly but surely coming to an end.
First, there is a huge proliferation of new internal enterprise software, including apps.
Second, there’s ever-increasing demand for companies to process the piles of data that they have into useful information.
And third, as companies continue to look for efficiencies, internal systems are under more and more scrutiny. And more and more often, it’s becoming clear that existing systems are just not up to snuff.
But reform at the Fortune 500 level happens slowly, so there's still a lot of opportunity to get an enterprise app up and running before the competition.
Great UX is hard to achieve. But a good user experience is entirely possible and is a great way to:
- Increase an apps ROI by increasing efficiency
- Increase employee buy-in
- Get in front of the competition