We as consumers outside the enterprise are used to cutting edge user interfaces, simple, intuitive and elegant design and ease of navigation (Facebook, Twitter,Uber etc.). However, when we come to business applications within the enterprise, the difference is stark- clunky, monolithic, “green screen” type interfaces with complex navigation, where you need a training manual to figure out how to use the software. Why this dichotomy ?
Traditionally, enterprise applications like ERP, SCM, PLM, APS etc have focused on functionality, features & benefits with not enough attention being payed to end user design, beauty, layout and interfaces. Today, with millennials in the workforce and consumer grade applications setting the standard, enterprise software needs to catch up quickly- The application can have all the bells and whistles in terms of functionality, but if it is not pleasing to the eye and easy to use, it does not matter- user adoption will be minimal and the entire investment to procure, implement, maintain and support the application will be wasted. With customer demands at an all time high, minimal brand loyalty, low switching costs and ephemeral tastes, it is essential that business applications focus on user experience, design, beauty and elegance. Production grade Material Resource Planning has to incorporate consumer grade quality of design. With anytime, anywhere access on multiple form factors (desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones & phablets) design has to be built into the application as it begins to be conceptualized, and carried throughout its entire life-cycle, rather than being bolted on as an afterthought. It is no wonder that some business application software providers are investing in in-house design & creative agency talent to overhaul their legacy product portfolio’s with laser focus on the end-user. Smart thinking which will bolster the bottom line and make Wall Street smile, don’t you think ?