by Jill Barson Gilbert

A great user experience can promote software adoption

Aug 13, 2015
BPM SystemsCloud ComputingIT Governance

u201cIf you build it, they will comeu201d may work in a baseball movie, but it's an unreliable strategy for deploying enterprise software. A better approach is to provide a great user experience, coupled with feature-filled software, to promote user adoption.

The Major League Baseball season is winding down and playoffs will start in a few weeks. Before we know it, the World Series will be upon us, and the TV networks will air the classic baseball movies. The famous Field of Dreams quote, “If you build it, [they] will come” may be a good strategy to attract baseball fans, but it’s an unreliable strategy to attract enterprise software customers.

UX first, features second

The user experience (UX) is more important than ever in selling everything from baseball games to enterprise software. Just as fans expect the latest big-screen displays, scoreboards and amenities when they attend baseball games, software users expect a top-notch user experience.

The software UX goes beyond the user interface (UI), and also considers accessibility, workflows and other aspects of how the user interacts with the product.

With web-enabled and Cloud-based enterprise software, when it comes to software selection criteria, UX comes first, and features second. Users want an intuitive and enjoyable (or, at least, not painful) UX. They still demand features and functions that meet their needs, but if vendors do not “wow” customers with the UX, it’s hard to make the sale.

UX critical to user adoption

Adopting new software and related information technologies offers several benefits: among them, to improve, standardize and automate business processes. Better business processes can positively impact productivity, time-to-market and other key performance indicators (KPIs).

Without a good UX, software users are unlikely to adopt the software, or they’ll use it unwillingly. Poor software adoption can negatively impact the KPIs the organization aimed to improve in the first place.

When evaluating and selecting enterprise software, do not be fooled by bells and whistles and shiny user interfaces. Consider the following strategies to ensure that the software is a good fit for your organization:

  • Have a game plan. Do this before holding serious talks with potential software vendors.
  • Fill the highest priority positions. Which business processes will you automate, and what are the specific needs and priorities? If you can accomplish other objectives, fine.
  • Hold try-outs. Work through several real-life software use cases – how a typical user would go about their daily tasks via the software – based on your prioritized needs.
  • Manage players. Become familiar with software data entry, data management and workflows, and how these will impact your users and their positions.
  • Run drills. Test data display and reporting tools and determine if built-in reporting tools will meet your needs.
  • Conduct spring training. Prepare a training strategy and training plan to meet needs of different audiences. Make sure that the team receives training in line with their position and job role. Train well before the software goes live.
  • Off-season management. Test software configuration, administration and maintenance functions.

Make sure that the software you select provides a great user experience, solves the highest-priority needs, and is a tool that your team will adopt.