The Transformation of Enterprise Software

By Sheetal Jaitly

For anyone who has worked in a large-scale corporation, the word enterprise software could evoke memories of frustrating workflows, archaic user interfaces, and generally, a poor user experience.

In my personal experience, having worked for a multitude of large organizations, I’ve seen my fair share of sub-par enterprise software. In one of my past positions, in order to sign my commission agreement, I was required to utilize a VPN to sign in through three separate systems. For each new employee, it was inevitable that this user-flow would fail, and they would end up spending 30 minutes with IT to complete, what should have been, a simple task. Another acquaintance of mine, at one of the big consulting firms, became so frustrated with the process of requesting a new monitor, that he went out and bought one himself. These barriers, created by enterprise software, offer a horrible user experience and can alienate employees.

In reality, organizations should be developing enterprise software in the same manner that we develop customer facing products:

  • Start with a Minimum Viable Product and have a lean mindset — test your market to ensure that this product is really driving business value
  • Have UI/UX designers build out prototypes that can be tested, get feedback and iterate
  • Build a roadmap that is agile and changes as you see your user’s data
  • Look at the data — “In god we trust and for everything else there is data”
  • Have Empathy — put yourself in your user’s shoes

Luckily, there are many SaaS companies climbing the ranks in a grassroots movement to develop enterprise software that looks and functions like a consumer facing product. Slack is a great example of an organization that is pushing the boundaries of traditional enterprise software. Not only are they being adopted by hundreds of organizations, but they utilize their own product in-house as a form of user-feedback testing.

Organizations often fail to recognize the impact of internal marketing. When a company fails to support its employees with effective tools, they are sending the message that they don’t respect their employees’ time and effort. In the age of mobile and connected experiences, these poor experiences in organizations will lead to high turnover, and low employee satisfaction. If you’re in an organization that is hindering its staff with shoddy software, be the change agent. Push to develop or subscribe to better products, and show the inherent value of enabling your employees to work more efficiently and effectively. It’s time that enterprise software is recognized as an enabling force, rather than a hinderance.

At TribalScale we practice Human and User Centred Design. We regularly hold open office hours and we’d be happy to connect with you.

Sheetal is a 13 year veteran of the tech industry, having spent the majority of his time as a business development lead. In his current role as CEO of TribalScale, Sheetal is applying his business development skills to quickly scale the young mobile development company. Outside of his day-to-day role, Sheetal is an avid investor in the technology space as well as a volunteer and member on the BoD for the Ontario Association of Food Banks.

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