Design for the customers.
If you are an entrepreneur, chances are you have been courted by numerous enterprise software companies, pitching how their solution can boost your sales, increase your user engagement or maybe even reduce budget expenditures. If you have worked in larger corporate settings, you are also likely to know that enterprise software, while useful, often ends up creating more work for the end user.
You are not alone. In fact, more than 96 percent of executives admit that at least some of the enterprise software they have purchased over the years has been shelved due to obsolescence or challenges using the product. While products naturally become outdated, SaaS products should retain their value through consistent management and updates. Unfortunately, this is also rare.
This doesn’t mean that companies will stop needing enterprise software solutions. The opposite is true, as recent data indicates that IT software spending may surpass $436 billion by 2020. The reason so many business leaders struggle to use enterprise software solutions is that they are rarely built with the end user in mind. But with significant growth and innovation in the industry, new solutions that emphasize a simple user experience will drive growth in this sector.
Ken McElrath, CEO of Skuid, a software company that builds user-centered enterprise apps, said “employees have shown a profound ability to use consumer tools to discover and assess information, collaborate, network and carry out tasks in their personal lives. The tools they have at work should be on par with, if not leagues ahead of the consumer apps they can use outside of work.” By making enterprise tools that are designed as if they were meant for consumers, companies can drive better adoption of the software solutions they deploy. Here are three major improvements coming this year.
1. Consumer grade enterprise apps.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are notoriously clunky and hard to customize. The consumer app revolution, however, has brought a new wave of innovative tech startups to the scene, showing how easy it can be to manage systems and data through modern apps. “Business and IT should be able to work together to address the needs of human beings quickly and efficiently,” McElrath explained. “Instead of using software that forces people to behave like machines (or like a vendor wants them to behave), together, business and IT can force software to behave more like humans.”
Companies are often wary of upstart brands, but when it comes to enterprise software, newcomers are making their mark by providing applications that better meet employee expectations. The quality of your enterprise apps will have a direct impact on how much your teams make use of them.
2. Unifying apps and platforms.
Most companies use several ERP solutions and struggle to piece together all the data they collect. That is why software companies are working to build platforms that sync various tools and systems in more useful ways. “Most companies use several systems of record, but struggle to piece together all the data they collect. It is worthwhile to use the technology you have in place already, working in tandem with existing systems to add huge value,” McElrath said.
Companies that can offer new solutions without forcing people to archive old software stand to gain significant market share by reducing the cost and risk associated with taking on a new ERP platform.
3. Internet of Things on the rise.
With the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices growing each year, many companies are already considering how connected objects can help them gain actionable insights for enterprise use. The challenge will be finding scalable solutions that can work together.
IoT devices are often developed on completely different platforms, and in the same way older ERP systems struggle to keep up with different systems, each platform doesn’t do a good job communicating with the next. There will need to be companies that can bridge the divide with more uniform platforms for enterprise adoption to take place.
For entrepreneurs, it is essential to find the right partners who can leverage existing software they already own, while upgrading efficiency and usefulness. Taking time to research and find the right solutions will no doubt result in increased adoption of new enterprise solutions without the stress that usually accompanies such decisions.