The Real Business Problem with Enterprise Software

Michael Vizard

Enterprise applications can be tricky things. Each user approaches an application differently with the end result being a lot of inconsistency in the way an application is actually used.

As a result, organizations spend a lot of time trying to figure out not only what kind of experience the end user is having with a particular application, but how they are actually progressing through the steps of any given process. Accomplishing that task involves everything from having somebody stand over the shoulder of a person to watch how they use the application to deploying automated end-user monitoring tools from companies such as Knoa.

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According to Knoa CEO Thad Eidman, what most organizations fail to appreciate is that an effective user of an application is as much as one-fifth the cost of an ineffective user of an application. Eidman says most of that cost has to do with calls to IT to resolve process issues that really have nothing to do with IT. End-user monitoring makes it possible to identify which user doesn’t understand how to use a particular application as intended.

Of course, a lot of users will say the application is cumbersome and obviously designed by someone with an IT background rather than a business background. But the extent with which that may be true is becoming less relevant, says Eidman, because modern applications today typically sport highly customizable user interfaces that can be adjusted to meet specific business process requirements. The challenge is simply figuring out which end users don’t understand the business process.

While IT organizations tend to invest in expensive application performance management (APM) frameworks to try and address this problem, Eidman contends that most of those products are focused on the relationship between the application and IT infrastructure. In the meantime, the business is increasingly concerned about efficiency in an economic climate that for the foreseeable future remains challenging.

IT definitely has a role to play in making the business more efficient. All too often, the tendency is to deploy an application and simply hope that in time most people will figure out how to best use it. The reality is that an enterprise application is essentially a digital representation of a complex set of interrelated business processes. That means the odds that everybody in the company is using that software as efficiently as possible are slim to none.



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Aug 20, 2012 6:37 AM Rene Rene  says:
Looking at this from a slightly different perspective, one step removed from the user experience, is the redundancy and inefficiency caused by layers of legacy applications in most large organizations. CIOs and IT managers must understand how to rationalize the entire portfolio while also paying attention to the individual user experience on a more granular level. A recent blog post, www.alfabet.com/en/blog/posts/2012/june/cios-as-change-managers, has more on this topic. Thanks for elevating the visibility of this issue. Reply

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