April 26, 2024
min read

Enterprise Software is Complicated & Transformation Managers Need To Do Better

Enterprise software is complicated because the very nature of software in this space such as difficult UXUI, a broad base of feature sets and a diverse group of users leads to difficulty in usage. Transformation managers who recognise this must also see that updating UXUI or a better enterprise system is not the answer. Rather implementing processes and tools such as digital adoption platforms that continually support adoption of any software is a more worthwhile long term strategy.

Written by

Marc Chia

If you find yourself banging your head on using a software your company has recently started using as part of their ever-ongoing series of digital transformations the fault may not lie with you. In a world of software applications, enterprise software routinely gets a bad name for poor design, slow adoption and sometimes outright wastes of money. From our perspective this often comes down to the complicated nature of many such enterprise applications. This complicated nature means transformation managers should instead adopt tools to guide and support usage of this systems as a longer term and sustainable means for driving digital adoption.

What is a Complicated Application?

In our world, a complicated application is one that requires an expert to know how to use. Complicated in this sense is defined by reference to the ease of use. A “normal” user is likely to struggle with its usage and may often only scratch the tip of the ice berg when it comes to maximizing its potential… that is if they do not give up first. On the other hand, an expert would know how to navigate it but to become an expert may take a herculean effort.

What Makes Enterprise Applications Complicated?

There are a number of reasons an application particularly in the enterprise space may be complicated.

1. Poor Or Dated UXUI

Users of enterprise applications may have realized by now that enterprise applications are years and in some cases decades behind consumer applications. There is a myriad of reasons behind this ranging from compatibility with hardware, cost or security just to name a few. The result is that many of these enterprise solutions may have poor UXUI being developed by software engineers with full focus on the ability to execute the feature and less thought put in as to how easy it might be to execute for a normal user who may not be versed in software. Consumer applications in modern times are much more likely to pair computer engineers with UXUI designers in teams which are specifically meant to address such issues.

2. Broad Feature Sets To Address Broad Use Cases

Consumer applications are generally focused on serving one specific use case and thus require a limited feature set. In contrast enterprise use cases tend to be broad and open ended. For example, an ERP system may be used for inventory management, sales and accounting to name but a few use cases. This broad set of use cases necessitates a broad set of features available for different user groups. This naturally increases the depth of knowledge required to operate and also has a detrimental effect on the straightforwardness of UXUI.

3. A Broad Group Of Users

The ease of use of systems is also a function of how specified the user segment is. Think of someone who uses and is familiar with Microsoft Word. He is much more likely to be able to launch and navigate similar text editors like Open Office or Google Sheets without in-depth re-training. The reason is of course the user familiarity with systems of a similar nature and design. In contrast if you get someone trained in typewriting to suddenly use Microsoft Word you will see much more of a struggle.

In the consumer space where applications can be tailored for a segmented audience this is less of a problem. In the enterprise space where you can have a 16-year-old intern and a 75-year-old worker having to use the same system you can see much more of a discrepancy in system familiarity. Even the best UXUI designer will struggle to have a single design accommodate this broad range of user familiarity.

Tips for easing adoption for complicated systems?

These are some reasons why enterprise systems are complicated and the latter 2 in particular are reasons why even with dedicated UXUI designers’ enterprise software continues to be complicated and adoption may remain an issue. In short simply moving to better UXUI or “better” systems is rarely the answer. Given this it becomes clear that a good long term strategy and  design of onboarding and training is critical to ensure adoption.

1. Modularised training

Front-loading mass training is an often an exercise in futility. Gathering large groups of users and providing 2-hour long training sessions often sees users proceeding at different paces among themselves and not following along with the trainer. While training should still be given it would be best delivered in a modularized manner that allows users to learn at an appropriate pace. Preferably this would be coherent with their needs as they progress from complete amateurs to experts in usage of the system over time.

2. Training Reference Material

Having reference material for users to refresh themselves is always useful. Traditionally this is done via Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) manuals. In more modern usage these are now online FAQs and “How-To” guides. Recently the advent of Learning Management Systems (LMS) in particular ones that are able to modularize training into smaller bits and delivered through either short tutorials or videos are becoming increasingly common. These can be useful reference points for users to seek information on demand.

3. In-Application Support

These are tools that are inbuilt into your application itself and is meant to offer a seamless way for users to access critical information when they want it and thus enable self-learning and self-help. Crucially they are scalable solutions that can also help relieve pressure on support and training resources. Some examples include:

  A. Tooltips – A unobtrusive way to provide quick and simple information and help users navigate.

   B. Product Walkthroughs – A structured product tour especially helpful for onboarding and complex processes.

   C. Chatbots – A way to automatically provide personalised support.

A fuller breakdown of such tools is provided here (https://www.usertip.com/post/3-ways-to-implement-in-application-onboarding-training-and-support). A digital adoption platform such as Usertip can help you set up some of these processes for a better and more intuitive onboarding process.

Adoption of Complicated Enterprise Software Is Easier Than Ever

While enterprise software remains complicated and is expected to remain so, project managers now have a wealth of tools at hand to better manage and drive this process. The ability to at least get users to a basic level of proficiency to use complicated enterprise systems has never been in doubt. However, the real challenge is pushing users beyond basic usage into more detailed and productive usage of software in ways that can better capture value. We now have the tools to do so and the question is now do we want to?

Usertip is a digital adoption platform designed to help scale your onboarding, training and support for digital solutions. Our no-code platform delivers in-application walkthroughs directly on your digital solutions. Seamless user experience and on-demand learning are all delivered to your user’s fingertips within seconds. Click here to find out more.

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