Why Are Enterprise Applications So Much Worse Than SaaS Alternatives?


Workers have probably accepted this truth as a fact of life: enterprise software isn't very good. It may have an excellent range of functionality, without which their jobs would be impossible, but that functionality comes packaged in interfaces that force them into inefficient and unpleasant workflows. From the worker's perspective, enterprise software is a necessary evil.



Workers have probably accepted this truth as a fact of life: enterprise software isn't very good. It may have an excellent range of functionality, without which their jobs would be impossible, but that functionality comes packaged in interfaces that force them into inefficient and unpleasant workflows. From the worker's perspective, enterprise software is a necessary evil.

But applications with poor UX aren't just an inconvenience, they can negatively impact productivity, reduce user morale, and, in some cases, create a security risk. So, why is most enterprise software so bad for users? Surely it's in the interest of corporations to offer the most efficient tools to their employees.

There are two factors at play here. The first is that many companies simply don't care about user experience. Employees are paid to do a job, and they're paid to do it with the tools the company provides. If it isn't great fun, then so be it. But the most important reason is a simple misalignment of incentives. Employees want to do a good job, and they want to be productive. Unfortunately, the users are almost never involved in the choice of business applications.

As the UX designer Frank Goertzen points out on Quora:

The problem is the buyers of enterprise software are rarely the end user of the software. This means that enterprise software is typically designed to fit sales or technical requirements rather then the end user needs.

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