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Importance of design for enterprise applications

Today, a lot of effort is invested in building enterprise applications but only a small portion of it involves UX, which might be a tipping point for any digital product launched.

For the sake of the article, we will define an enterprise app as software used by businesses in order to solve enterprise problems. This is also a reminder that the end-users of enterprise applications are employees, required to use the app regardless of how it works.

 

Why think about Enterprise UX

Enterprise apps built for catering, logistics, sales automation, HR solutions, data management or similar – are usually very complex. They include extensive data, actions by multiple staff, complex rules and business terminology. Those apps have to deal with a high level of stability, security, legacy system integration, and dozens of other challenges. Errors, unnecessary complexity or uncertainty by users cause problems and raise costs.

When executed correctly, UX should minimize the impact of that complexity and bring positive changes to overall business performance.

Companies should leverage a strong UX for the benefit of their employees and customers for a number of reasons – cost reduction being one that stands out in particular.

Research conducted by Forrester shows that, on average, every dollar invested in UX can bring $100 in return. This is a great return on investment. According to SAP Center for Business Insight, companies with best-in-class customer experience management achieve year-over-year customer profit margin improvement 527% higher than their peers, and 359% greater company revenue growth.

 

Increased ROI

Increase in productivity and decline in support costs

Great UX means the employees spend less time on the app and more time on core business activities. This shift in focus and time allocation can have substantial financial implications. Also, a well-designed app puts less stress on both employees and the bottom line as it doesn’t require additional training, documentation and support – all of which translates to lower costs.

Higher product adoption and usability

When creating an enterprise solution with the user in mind, we automatically increase adoption speed. We have to take into account all business players and their interaction with the application. If we focus on one aspect of the business and leave out certain departments, those employees that were unaccounted for will resort to using outside tools to simplify their tasks and we’ll end up with dispersed data and a decentralised system – which no one wants.

 

More efficient business processes

Reducing development time

What many companies don’t realise is that any changes that need to be made to a product in the late stages of development or post release are much more costly than changes made in the design stage. This is why it is imperative to allocate enough time and resources to UX. Proper user research should provide valuable insights into the industry and user pain points which then lead to the creation of a detailed mock-up of the product. It is in this early stage that we ask for feedback, make corrections and get buy-in from future users. Once we are happy with product features, workflow and capabilities, we can hand the work off to development.

Reducing cost through business analysis

We already said that project spending increases when having to correct mistakes caused by failure to define requirements early on. Thorough business analysis means gathering input from all company stakeholders and defining requirements early on. Without business analysis, we can’t be sure if we are heading in the right direction. It is this very activity that creates a framework for our product and defines what criteria it must satisfy. Keeping the development team on the right track and eliminating late stage rework, reduces overall project spending.

 

What good enterprise UX looks like

Obviously, an effective user experience is a lot more than just a great user interface. Although design and UX decisions should be framed around clients’ goals – UX is still all about the end user. The first impression of an app will influence the entire user experience and determine its overall success. With that in mind, great UX and great design should both be based around simplicity, relevance and intuitivity.

 

Making UX work for you

Expectations around enterprise applications are definitely trending toward the same usability and performance as consumer apps.

As enterprises continue to look for ways to increase efficiency, internal applications are undergoing review. There are still a lot of opportunities to get a great enterprise app up and running before the competition. Applying UX strategies when building your app is a sure way to increase efficiency, ensure employee adoption, get ahead of the competition, and reduce costs.

Based on the above facts, you should figure out if UX is the right investment for your product.

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