Enterprise software. In many cases, it’s bloated and it's ugly. And it's everywhere. Pick a category -- HR, accounting, business intelligence (BI), content management systems (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM), agency management software -- and you will find the landscape littered with expensive and difficult-to-use software. That's not to say that all enterprise software is bad; -there are good solutions to be found. Unfortunately, too many companies find themselves stuck with the bad.
Enterprise software is big business. Reports forecast that IT will spend $296 billion on enterprise solutions this year alone. In addition to the high licensing and support costs, a company's investment in enterprise software includes time and costs associated with implementation, integration, training and adoption. If your company is invested in an enterprise solution, you should review periodically to ensure financial and strategic ROI.
Here are four reasons why you should deep-six your enterprise software:
- Simple tasks are complex: User experience matters. I recently sat with a frustrated user who was entering data into her company's CRM software. I watched as she typed a couple hundred words into a text field which only displayed the first five. A simple search required three different button clicks before she got any results. She, along with the other users in her company, struggle daily with enterprise software that is complex and difficult to use.
Unfortunately, experiences like this are not isolated to a few. A recent survey of more than 1,200 respondents reported that 71 percent found their enterprise applications non-intuitive and difficult to use; 60 percent consider tasks a waste of time when using their enterprise software; and 44 percent believe their enterprise solution has a negative impact on their business.
Software that is difficult to use leads us to our second point...
- No one uses it: A positive user experience will drive adoption, whereas software that is difficult to use will result in a loss of productivity. Are you struggling with low adoption rates? Don't blame your users. Thanks to Apple and other companies who emphasize usability users now have high expectations for how applications should look, feel, and function. If they find it difficult to use then adoption will almost certainly be low.
Ask yourself these questions: Is it difficult to use? Is the interface cluttered and outdated? Is it slow and unresponsive? If the answer to any of these questions is yes then you probably have a software solution that no one wants to use.
- Sub-par support: Odds are you're paying high licensing fees and support costs. Unfortunately, that doesn't always equate to high levels of support. Slow response times can cost you time and money.
Excuses, such as "there's a fix-pack coming", or "you're the first to report this" are frustrating and unhelpful. Having to wade through multiple levels of support and wait while your issue is repeatedly escalated is unfortunately a common occurrence for too many software vendors. If you struggle with poor support, pressure your vendor to do better. If they won't or can't, look elsewhere.
- Irregular and insignificant updates: I was recently involved in an update that the vendor touted as significant and major, and having been re-written and vastly improved. Words like "improved usability", "HTML 5" and "improved look and feel" were cover for what was nothing more than a re-skin from the end-users perspective. It was still slow and hard to use. And the customer invested a considerable amount of time into the rollout of this new update with very few improvements to show for.
If your enterprise software vendor does not provide regular updates that include noticeable improvements, bug-fixes, and which take advantage of new and immerging technology, you are being short-changed.
If your enterprise software solution exhibits any of these red flags, then you should seriously consider a change. It may be in your company's best interest to pull the plug now before you invest any more. There are alternatives available, especially with the rise of SaaS enterprise solutions.
What issues have you encountered with enterprise software? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet your responses using the hashtag #mcgblog.