Several enterprises had already made head starts in digital transformation even before the COVID-19 pandemic set in. From moving large enterprise workloads to cloud platforms, investing in SaaS solutions for various departments, and breaking down business processes to be more agile, the journey to a digital-first future was already starting.
For employees, getting a grip on the new user experience offered by these digital platforms and channels was tough. So was adapting to changing business processes, but they could handle it – thanks to the readily available support from technology teams within the office. But the pandemic changed all that. Remote working or working from home became normal for employees. Indications are, this change isn’t temporary. Gartner’s recent survey showed that nearly 82% of business leaders are likely to allow employees to work from home for some of the time even after the pandemic is under control.1
The digital transformation that occurred earlier had already laid the foundation for better work experiences for employees. As enterprises evolve to address the needs of today, several new focus areas are emerging that demand immediate attention. One such area is the User Experience or UX of enterprise tools and applications.
The new way of working has opened up a whole new world of expectations from the UX perspective of enterprise tools and applications.
When people began working predominantly from their homes, new concerns emerged. New tools and applications are being added to the technology portfolio to enable collaboration, communication, and workflow automation.
Also, prevailing enterprise tools and applications are being accessed by employees under a variety of imperfect conditions. Employees are connecting to enterprises over networks of variable bandwidth, inconsistent quality, and stability. They are forced to use devices with sub-optimal specifications and capabilities. Despite all that, the users need to learn to be able to use these new tools “out in the wild” with access to little or no support from the enterprise technology teams.
Enterprise CIOs are turning to the VPs of Engineering of the ISVs that build the products and tools they depend on, to demand a greater focus on UX. The challenge being posed to ISVs is to transform the UX of their product offerings and allow enterprise users to use their products effectively, even under constrained circumstances.
Let us explore 3 key reasons why ISVs would need to completely overhaul their UX strategies in the wake of the events of the 2020 pandemic.
#1 – The Rise of Self-Service
Working from home puts employees out of the immediate reach of live technical support as they would have access to it in an office environment. Employees would have to find their way around digital tools by themselves. Technical support can be provided to employees through video or audio conferencing, but IT helpdesks are being inundated with tickets. Under the circumstances, a change in perspective while designing new enterprise tools for a completely remote workforce is a more sustainable and scalable strategy.
The User Experience (UX) should focus on enabling self-service, including intuitive workflows, and simplifying usage. It should be easy for new users to be onboarded and for them to get started with working on the tool. Powerful UX would mold the product to the employee’s work patterns rather than force the employees to adapt to the product. Once this is achieved, employees can easily navigate through the digital tools they need daily and deliver the business outcomes expected of them.
#2 - Increased Device Complexity
While at home, employees may opt for a combination of devices to access their work resources. Within the office environment, enterprise applications are likely to be accessed from designated employee machines that meet the defined specifications. But while at home, they could switch between laptops, smartphones, tablets, or even seek notifications and basic actions from their wearables. For ISVs building enterprise software products, this is a huge consideration to make while planning for the user experience of their offerings.
Product architecture will have to be revamped to allow for uninterrupted functionality even with all this device complexity. UI will need to accommodate different screen sizes and configurations. This may impact everything from colors and fonts to images and forms. And perhaps most crucially, employees will want a seamless experience, and this will call for more strategic validation of the user experience across a range of devices including a more complex testing strategy.
#3 - Reduced Internet Bandwidth
The office environment guarantees the availability of high bandwidth internet connectivity 24 X 7 for employee machines. This makes the adoption of cloud-based digital tools much easier as they are “always-on”. In today’s remote work mode, employees may have access to weaker internet connections that are less stable, lower bandwidth, and with higher latency. Besides, with everyone working and studying from home, there are many takers for the available bandwidth. For ISVs looking to create products that remote enterprise users can use, this poses yet another major UX challenge.
The new UX must enable faster load times with a lighter resource footprint. ISVs need to ensure that UI components are built using lightweight technology options that require minimal bandwidth to load. The new enterprise products may have to use advanced caching mechanisms to speed up processes during continuous usage.
As enterprises continue to deploy new-age digital tools for empowering employees, tremendous opportunities are opening up for the ISVs that build these tools. But they must take into account the major user experience challenges that have followed in the wake of the remote work wave globally. To experience success, ISVs may need to adopt a new strategy focused on user experience to build enterprise software products for the new world of enterprise users.
Xoriant User Experience Expertise
To help exceed your customer expectations, Xoriant invests in the latest research, next-gen technologies, and a proficient Xoriant UX team with expertise in Usability Testing and User Experience Design. Across all UX projects, we help ensure improved usability of software for better user productivity and satisfaction, higher adoption, and recommendation.