When considering the purchase of a new software solution for their company, IT departments and IT leaders have a lot of masters to serve. How secure is it? Does it integrate with existing systems and infrastructure? And of course, how much does it cost? During this balancing act, it can be easy to forget who’s going to be sitting in front of that new tool: the user, in this case, your workforce or your clients and customers.
User experience is often an afterthought to the ever-changing concerns of the IT leader, but neglecting it can lead to increased demand on your support resources, low internal adoption rates and even reduced customer satisfaction.
The Impacts of Consumerization
With the rapid rise of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environments across the enterprise, there’s a good chance your IT team has already dealt with the impacts of the consumerization of IT movement. As hardware and software have become more sophisticated and more intuitive, people have become more technologically savvy. They expect the same level of sophistication from their work devices and applications that they get on their smartphones and tablets at home. Mobile apps, with their effortless one-touch operation, have dramatically raised the bar for user experience expectations.
But it was left to IT to manage these changing expectations in addition to the existing demands of meeting compliance regulations, data security concerns and the difficulties of ensuring interoperability between systems. It’s no wonder, then, that user experience is often given much lower priority when evaluating a software purchase such as a web conferencing tool.
Pursuing a Better User Experience
In my last blog, we saw how business habits can be difficult and scary to change. If you put a counter intuitive, complex and difficult-to-learn web or video conferencing solution in front of your employees and customers, they’re much more likely to revert back to email or phone calls, effectively wasting your investment and limiting positive results. The goal should be to provide user experiences that mirror the simple-yet-sophisticated applications that all of us are accustomed to in our day-to-day lives.
At PGi, we’ve focused our efforts on creating simple, intuitive meeting experiences that anyone can immediately pick up and use. Take, for example, this interface from GlobalMeet®:
No confusing interface to learn covered in dozens of obscurely labeled buttons or multiple menu pull downs to navigate. With over twenty years of meeting experience behind us, we’ve researched and identified the four most common meeting needs and put them right in front of you: Invite Guests, Share My Screen, Share a File, and Share My Webcam, all in plain language that anyone can understand. A single click gives you access to all the meeting features you need, just as simply as you’d launch Angry Birds® or Flipboard on your favorite mobile device.
Take another example, this time from the iMeet® smartphone app:
As a meeting host, a single tap of the “Start Meeting” button launches you straight into your iMeet room and automatically connects your audio for you. No dial-in numbers to remember or confusing passcodes and PIN numbers to track down, and no need to enter these digits while doing other tasks (like driving your car). These are just a few examples of the painstaking effort PGi has taken to provide the best possible meeting experience for all users, regardless of technical prowess.
By evaluating collaboration tools or any software acquisition on user experience criteria like accessibility, ease-of-use, interoperability and mobility, you can equip your workforce with the kinds of intuitive user experiences they’ve come to expect (if not demand). This will drive internal adoption, providing you with the all-important return on investment and turning you into your company’s IT hero.
Want to learn more about the impacts of the Consumerization of IT? Download this free report from Forrester Research- The Rise of the Tablet Worker.