Enterprise Application Users Have Different Needs
Most of us have daily experience with single-user products, like email and web clients, word processors and spreadsheets. But how many spend a similar amount of time using enterprise applications? The differences are pronounced; here are just a few:
- Many users are only occasional visitors, so information display and decision making must be kept simple; but frequent users and power users need access to high-efficiency tools in order to be productive. All three kinds of users must be accomodated.
- Users are likely to face huge volumes of data, so they need automation that lets them focus quickly and repeatably.
- Teams of users are at risk of creating silos and duplicating others' efforts, so managers must be able to share data and synchronize activity.
- Each user's business is different, so configuration options must provide flexibility, integration with existing automation must be instant/fast; and implementation experts must be available.
- Products are often administered by personnel who are seeing them for the first time, so built-in guidance and diagnostics are needed.
- Selection of a product can be a multi-year process, and usage often lasts decades, so products must have long support lifetimes and hold to long-term feature roadmaps.
Even enterprise software makers usually spend much more time using single-user products than enterprise ones, so teams often need to recommit themselves frequently to satisfying these needs.