Designers of enterprise software have a unique set of challenges that designers of standalone software don’t. Rather than designing and developing for a target market or end user they must try to address the needs of all stake holders across all levels.
In wealth management, the number of stake holders that must be considered exceeds many other industries because of the regulatory and legal requirements, not only locally, but globally in many cases.
As a result, managing the expectations of the end user can and often gets neglected to a certain degree as the business needs from an organisational perspective takes precedent over any others.
How can product design in my opinion help negate some of this?
There are a few fundamental requirements across every stake holder level that can help provide the framework for a great enterprise software package.
Firstly, the user interface must be intuitive and easy to use. This applies to not only the end user but also system administrators. Factually, in life, if a process or experience is hard to learn and it’s difficult to maintain the required knowledge or skill set, people naturally gravitate towards alternatives that are easier to use even if not technically superior.
The Apple iPhone did not become market leader because of its hardware specifications, it was the iOS platform and App Store ecosystem. Simple and intuitive that anybody could use.
The software must be customisable across all levels so it can work how the stake holder wants to work. As soon as there are limits and restrictions on how a stake holder must use the software, they will again naturally gravitate towards a product that is more flexible.
For example, people want to be able to choose, select and use their own words and terms in the fields, lists and contents within the software that best matches how they do business. If something is missing or isn’t suitable, it causes frustration.
The steps involved to complete a process or task should be efficient, logical and makes sense to everyone.
If a stake holder thinks twice or has a degree of self-doubt, then its not efficient or logical. In some cases, it is often more complex than what is required to achieve the same outcome.
The software must be robust, reliable and responsive.
In the past people overlooked software that didn’t meet these requirements, now they just move on to alternatives in the market or remain a disgruntled customer.
Innovation must be built into its DNA.
Whilst the software needs to get the fundamentals right it must include a degree of innovation that satisfies the needs of the tech savvy, fast adopters and be able to adapt to the ever-changing technology landscape.
Microsoft has successful introduced products and services that will now only ever receive regular updates rather than major product revisions. A strategy that sees innovation continuously rolled out to customers whilst rectifying security and other product issues.
Humans by nature enjoy new experiences and they get a buzz when they experience new features that will make their lives easier or businesses run smoother. This works even better by creating that buzz by showing them demonstrations, showcasing the features and benefits and how they can be used in real life scenarios.
Every stake holder regardless at what level, are just human. We as humans want a great experience when we use software, have it work the way we want, how it should and the way we need.
The challenge is real, yet achievable.