I have been involved in numerous discussions with customers who want to improve processes and the common reason is to always automate the process and reduce manual intervention and to reduce costs ultimately. This is all great when finally implemented, but how far do you go to improve a process? Is the process you are improving for Finance and when finally implemented is great for Finance, but a head ache for the employees? This is now becoming a common problem and it is quickly becoming known as the customer user experience.
Customer experience is important for many reasons. You design a product and it has to be based on how the user will interact with it. If they find it easy to use and interact, the usability increases, the usage increases and the brand recognition of the product increases. It’s a win, win.
It sounds simple but it’s an easily forgotten item and especially with process. Let’s go back to our Finance example and take the expense report process. The Finance department want to close the month end quickly and therefore require a process to meet their needs. This is a totally reasonable request, but when devising the optimum process for Finance, is anybody thinking about all of the employees involved in the process? What about the employees who enter the expenses? Is it a smooth process for them? By streamlining for Finance, are we then slowing down efficiency of the employee as they are on the road all the time, like a sales rep for example? In most cases, customers do not and if they did they would then look at including the employee involvement as part of the process, which might mean an electronic way to capture receipts and upload to an expense report from their phone. Sounds simple, but then this is another cost….so what happens…the Finance bods will say no and ask the employee to comply….but what is actually happening is that by automating a process, you are just moving a problem to somewhere else, if you do not look at the whole user or customer experience.
Now moving away from process and back to product such as Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle has invested heavily in the user experience. Look at how we have moved from 10.7 to R12 and Fusion and Cloud. Everything is on web pages, mobile and social media friendly. Oracle has even learned from its competition Microsoft.
I remember the times when I was demonstrating Oracle E-Business Suite products in the early R11 days to a customer and competing against Dynamics; the Dynamics demo was always very slick showing ‘easy to the eye’ reporting and integration with MS products which the users loved.
The Oracle demos did not have that same UI slick look and feel, but was functionality rich unlike Dynamics. However what generally happens is that the user will go for the slick look and feel, even with limited functionality as it’s easy to use. It might have to be customised to death and a nightmare to upgrade and support, but the user can use it quickly.
At dsp, everything we do is linked back to what is the user experience and what does it mean to the user….come and talk to us to find out more.