Software

Report: Enterprise software isn't impressing users

In a recent survey, 76% of respondents said they are apathetic toward business software, and 34% outright hate it. What can enterprise vendors do to change their minds?

A new report out from enterprise tech company Unit4 finds that enterprise business software that's designed to make work easier doesn't, at least as far as its users are concerned.

The study polled business professionals on a variety of issues, all of which point to one conclusion: "many enterprise technology vendors are simply not getting it when it comes to what end-users actually want and need out of their technology."

The findings aren't likely to be surprising to anyone who has used an enterprise platform to track time, expenses, or perform other administrative tasks. Much of it is designed to operate smoothly on the back end, and it can feel like the user experience was just an afterthought.

So what do enterprise vendors need to be aware of if they want to keep those lucrative contracts?

What the users are saying

Apathy seems to be the dominant feeling surrounding business software. 76% of those surveyed said they feel "meh" about the business software the have to use. As for the other 24%, the bulk of them (17%) downright hate it.

Scott Kamieneski, Unit 4's regional president for North America, said those numbers should be unacceptable to enterprise vendors. "Between the projected spending on enterprise technology and the chest-thumping many vendors are doing these days, apathy hardly seems like an acceptable outcome."

SEE: Report: Unused enterprise software is costing businesses a fortune (TechRepublic)

At least apathetic is how the majority feel. It would be much worse if the 34% who think business software makes their days miserable, their jobs harder, and who have actually considered quitting over it were in the majority.

That isn't an excuse for enterprise vendors to continue business as usual, though. If anything it should be a call to action before that 34% starts to spread their sentiment to their coworkers.

What enterprise vendors should focus on

Saying "make it better for users" is far too nebulous to be actionable: Vendors need specifics so they know where to direct resources.

The survey points to a few noteworthy starting points, namely that the average user is dealing with two to four different systems to accomplish administrative and operational tasks—and they just don't like that.

SEE: How to Build Habit-Forming Products (TechRepublic Academy)

Better integration led the pack when users were asked about what they would improve, along with more simplicity/usability, and more automation to eliminate complex manual tasks. As far as specifics go that's a pretty good set of starting points for enterprise vendors to consider.

When enterprise software vendors sit down to design the next version of their software they should figure out how to take the experience from "meh" to simple, integrated, and intuitive.

Prioritize the users, and the users will come.

The top three takeaways for TechRepublic readers:

  1. A study of enterprise software users found that most of them are apathetic toward their platforms, and one-third are outright hostile toward them, painting a dismal picture of the enterprise landscape for software vendors.
  2. The study found that most users want enterprise software to be more integrated, easier to use, and to have improved automation.
  3. Enterprise platform vendors need to shift their focus toward improving user experience before their customers start rejecting their platforms.

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About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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