As a user, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words: enterprise software? Perhaps something difficult to use and gray in color? Maybe a dinosaur-like UI that gets in the way of your productivity? But how did this come to be? Let us rewind the clock to a few decades ago to understand how enterprise software was purchased and used.
Enterprise applications were designed to meet the complex, scalable and mission-critical needs of an organization. Purchase decisions were (still are?) made on spreadsheets and it was difficult to quantify the user experience. From the user’s perspective, there was a wide gulf between enterprise and consumer apps - with a different set of expectations from each. It was also a time when software purchase was a one-time activity or riddled multi-year maintenance contracts. Due to the high switching costs, poor user experience was a barrier that was not high enough. Also, organization culture leaned towards a “just get it done” attitude especially when it came to internal tools, resulting in user experiences that weren’t well designed or tested.
While the hangover of yesteryear remains, the state of enterprise apps UX is changing rapidly. Consumerization of IT and user interfaces from the consumer world are setting the bar now for enterprise software. With the advent of cloud, social and mobile, the gulf of expectations has narrowed because we are switching between apps related to work and play throughout the day. Enterprise employees are also consumers, and they’ve come to expect consumer-level design in all the tools they use. The millennial workforce expects enterprise apps to be fast, connected, and available on all devices, at all times. Meanwhile, SaaS has lowered the cost of switching and encouraged competition - moving the battleground from the spreadsheet to user experience. Also, the adoption is clearly measurable, hence, the user experience is now more quantifiable than ever. Moreover, enterprise software makers are using design thinking to create the best possible applications. Due to all these reasons, even internal apps, custom applications, and partner apps are expected to be of the highest quality with respect to user experience.
Good design also enables enterprises to eliminate inefficiencies and extra costs that are passed on to the end-user in time spent, money lost, and frustration increased. In fact, when an enterprise prioritizes user experience for its internal tools, it becomes a more effective organization; recent studies show that design-driven companies outperformed the S&P average by 228% over the last ten years. So how does an enterprise create enterprise apps with consumer-grade UX without compromising on the speed of application delivery?
At WaveMaker, we fully appreciate the role of user experience in the success of enterprise software. That belief also translates into features in our award-winning RAD platform. The following capabilities empower developers to churn out beautiful apps at the speed of business using the WaveMaker low-code platform:
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