Only with a thorough understanding of your customers’ and users’ needs can you design easy-to-use enterprise software solutions. Early research and validation of those needs reduces cycle time in defining requirements. More thorough user interface designs— prototypes and specifications— reduces cycle time in development and testing. Easy-to-use enterprise software solutions reduce training and support costs, and increase customer effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. Ultimately, easy-to-use enterprise software reduces cost and increases retention, adoption, and revenue.
As with any process, the amount of customer and user research, validation, and evaluation you conduct varies with the company’s objective and the need of each release. New releases to the market require more research and validation while major releases of a mature product require little or no research or validation, but should evaluate usability of new features and measure ROI post-release. Ultimately, it is up to your company to decide how much of this process makes sense to support the company’s overall strategy. But remember that your ROI is directly proportional to your investment.
This blog series is based on the article Easy to Use for Whom: Defining the Customer and User Experience for Enterprise Software