Monday, May 9, 2011

The Hidden Opportunity for the Enterprise

How does one improve the productivity of a large organization?

Well, one turns to IT of course.

Large organizations have complex processes, so to enhance their efficiency, they tend to select applications that are also complex. These enterprise applications require a lot of upfront customization, but once the employees start using them, their productivity should improve. How much productivity improves, ultimately determines the organization's competiveness. So companies understand that how they configure, for example, their ERP application will impact their future success.

Because of this, organizations take the customization of their software very seriously. They carefully gather the requirements and then spend months adjusting the application to ensure that it is able to support all their use cases.

On the surface this all seems fine. Of course organizations are concerned about the costs and risks associated with such projects. But this is not where the opportunity is hidden. There is something much more important. Most organizations completely ignore it, even though this severely limits the new software's ability to improve productivity. It is "usability".

Let's face it, most enterprise applications are made to ensure that they can support even the most irrational processes. If you work with enterprise applications, you know how frustrating it can be when you know what you need to get done, but can't figure out how to do it in the application. When the software was configured, the key objective was to ensure that it supports the complex processes of your organization. User interaction was probably not even considered.

Clearly more can be done to optimize an organization's processes. To truly optimize a process, it is also important to shield the employees from the complexity of the software that is used to support the process. This is a major challenge, however, because there is an obvious conflict between the inherent complexity of enterprise applications and the desired simplicity in user experience.

When we started to design the ITRP service, we decided to take on this challenge for enterprise-class IT Service Management applications. Even though ITRP has been built to support even the largest and most sophisticated IT service provider organizations, it hides its complexity from the users.

ITRP is the first service management solution to have placed so much emphasis on usability. We did this because we know that eliminating front-end complexity translates immediately into productivity gains for the IT specialists. This, in turn, allows IT specialists to automate more of the core business processes which has a compounding effect on the long-term success of the organization as a whole.

And there are more benefits to consider. The cost of training, for one, can be reduced drastically or even eliminated when an application is intuitive. And providing employees with well-designed tools makes it easier to attract and retain the most talented.

We want to thank the ITSM consultants out in the field, as well as our first customers, for sharing their observations, ideas and feedback with us. Thanks to them several wonderful usability features have already been added to ITRP that will make the lives of many IT specialists a little easier. Please keep the feedback coming.

Source: Complexity in Enterprise Applications vs. Simplicity in User Experience

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