The information technology industry is filled with software that the users hate but are forced to use anyway. One specific area where this happens more than you’d like it to is Enterprise level Softwares. The organizations tend to invest less time and money in the software solutions to be used by the employees. A classic example is Hershey’s failure in 1999, wherein the busiest times of the year (Halloween) weren’t capable of delivering up to 100 million USD worth of orders, just because of a software failure. So how do you design an elegant solution that makes someone hate their 9 to 5 jobs a little less? That’s where Enterprise UX comes into the picture. We’re going to explore this together.
Enterprise UX is for the internal software or the applications that the employees on their day to day jobs use. Here the end-user is an employee of your own or other organizations where the software will be used. One of the best things you can do for empowering employees is to give them smart and efficient tools that save time and help them do their jobs with better accuracy, and why not make it a little fun. We have listed down a few challenges which a designer can face while designing an Enterprise UX.
‘People ignore designs that ignore people.’
The employees are your end-users.
More often than not, Enterprise Software is designed to keep the executives in mind and not the actual daily user. By this, your client is most probably from senior management, but your users are everyone from the junior-most position to the CEO of the company.
Your understanding of the problem that the company is trying to solve will most likely come from senior management, who, by the way, doesn’t depend on this software for his/her daily tasks and functions. The ones who actually need it are the ones doing the groundwork and aren’t privileged enough to be a part of these meetings. So always remember, try, and talk to the actual user while doing your research, not just the manager.
Organizations keep tight deadlines and budgets.
Companies usually don’t focus much on their employees as compared to their customers or other stakeholders. So it won’t be crazy to assume that they’d want this project to cost less and be easy to implement. Remember that transition to an enterprise-level solution can take a lot of time for not only designing and developing but also training employees to move their workflow that they’re so used to already.
Management of Data
While designing an enterprise-level solution, you’re obviously going to have to manage a lot of information. Your initial days require a lot of research to ensure that you know as much as you can about your user’s daily functions and the different types of users.
Users are scared.
Your user will always be afraid of making a mistake, as a small mistake could lead to them missing out on a promotion or even losing their jobs and livelihoods. If possible, run as many tests as you can with your users to ensure a seamless and innovative way of working and reducing the stress levels of the users.
Changes or Change Requests are expensive.
Changes to the software that’s been developed are especially costly when it comes to enterprise software. As it would make a lot of time and money spent on the development seem redundant and unjustifiable to upper management. A phase-wise approach makes more sense for some organizations, as it could give more time for proper feedback and understanding for the development, but might seem too expensive and time-consuming to some.]
Make your client see value in good enterprise UX. Managers and team leaders are very much attracted to this idea of improving productivity. And you can build something that achieves exactly that. Good UX not only motivates employees to work harder and better but reduces stress and makes the experience more enjoyable (or bearable in some cases).
Do let us know if you have had any experience building enterprise software in the comments below. Meanwhile, you can check out some of the products we have built in the Enterprise domain.