Setting New Standards: Six Key Trends Reshaping Enterprise Software User Experience
Businesses are increasingly realizing that user experience (UX) correlates closely to user engagement. The implications of a successful UX make it way more than just a satisfaction ranking.
Here are six key trends that I see reshaping enterprise software UX.
- Mobile is the new norm: The increased use of mobile devices has raised the bar for how we expect to use enterprise software on these platforms. Research into enterprise mobility shows that executives at enterprises who say their software prepares them well for digital transformation are more than twice as likely to access software from a mobile device. Although the majority of work in enterprises is still done on laptops and desktops, touch screen devices are becoming a choice for everyone from executives to industrial maintenance staff.
- Consumerized usage behaviors: As more and more people are getting used to swiping on their smartphones and using chat apps, this quick interaction has become what they expect from enterprise software. Delivering an intuitive, clean and visually appealing UX that allows quick actions without going through too many steps before performing a task is a must. This has been the motivator behind a lot of companies enabling enterprise systems to be accessed through these kinds of services.
- Personalization: Increased data volumes within organizations have made it even more urgent to personalize information and make it available at a moment’s notice. Role-based user interfaces have been developed to meet individual needs of employees. When paired with new technologies such as AI and machine learning, the role-based interface can also become intelligent, predicting how you want your personalized interface displayed and automatically adapting what information is shown.
- Voice and chat UX: UX does not just have to be visual, forms and lists. Consumer-focused interfaces, such as Siri, Cortana and Alexa, have accelerated the adoption of voice and chat as an interface in the enterprise arena. The benefits are clear - you can search for data and perform tasks within your system using voice or chat instead of having to use a dedicated enterprise application and click through endless menus and structures. This provides vital benefits for professionals such as service engineers, who can use their hands when repairing an asset while searching for instructions using their voice.
- Virtual, augmented reality becomes a UX: Moving us even further beyond screen display or voice notions of UX is the movement towards AR and VR. Since its start 10 years ago, augmented reality has matured fast. Companies such as XMReality offer AR remote guidance, so remote subject matter experts can support engineers in the field as if they were physically present. Such technologies have gone from being exploratory R&D projects to mature solutions extraordinarily quickly, and it will not take long before we see broader adoption.
- Mixed reality: Another opportunity is through mixed reality, which combines AR and VR using devices such as the Microsoft HoloLens. Imagine service engineers who can visualize data from the business software directly on an asset that is to be serviced via their safety glasses. This will make it possible to work on repairing the asset with both hands, while having the service instructions superimposed on the field of vision. The intuitive, easy-to-use UX of mixed reality, combined with enterprise software data, could reshape how we think about enterprise UX in the future.
How do you measure user engagement?
Measuring the success of your software UX is important as it has a direct impact on employee productivity, and satisfaction and retention. In a recent IFS survey, almost 46 percent of the middle-age demographic said they would consider changing jobs due to poor enterprise software usability. The technologies outlined here are at varying states of maturity, but no matter what technology is used, ERP user engagement is now an important business KPI vital for staff retention.