Building a technically perfect application that no one uses is a hard lesson for an IT team. It’s not good enough to have applications that are robust, secure, and scalable; applications must also be useful. For an enterprise application to maximize user adoption and establish long-term success, IT must deliver an end-user experience similar to those found in consumer applications. User-centered design practices are ideal for delivering modern and engaging user experiences (UX) at the enterprise level. While the term UX has been around for years, the concept of “digital experience” has evolved over the past year with the advancement and consolidation of UX, design, mobility, collaboration, and content services in the cloud.
Application designers strive to create a digital experience that leaves users feeling connected to an organization. Whether an application provider is a startup, a small business, or a large enterprise, when an effective and engaging UX is embraced, users develop trust in the brand.
Every enterprise IT department is an application provider. Every interaction between an enterprise and an employee, business partner, or end user has the potential to generate revenue, decrease costs, and achieve strategic business goals. Improperly designed, these digital experiences can also lead to dissatisfaction, inefficiency, and increased costs. When complex applications add friction to tasks that drive your business, users will either stop using the application or use it in an unproductive way.
Business end users have come to expect a superior UX, and enterprise designers have few excuses for not getting it right.
How to improve the digital experience
Ensuring that solutions are mobile-enabled is key for an improved digital experience. Simple, task-oriented applications are a good place to start for mobile enablement as they demonstrate quick value to a wide segment of enterprise users. These applications usually need to run on multiple mobile devices and tend to favor prebuilt apps, micro-apps, and hybrid app architectures that leverage HTML5 and responsive design. Some organizations prefer to focus on fully mobile-enabling a specific process or job function by designing and building rich and sophisticated applications from the ground up.
Desktop digital experiences can easily be optimized by applying a modern-styled rendering layer – that leverages Web or mobile delivery – over classic user interface (UI) technologies. Cloud-based enterprise portal and content management services can also modernize the enterprise UX for both internal and external users. A modern enterprise portal provides one-stop access to updated and new applications, and composite or mash-up applications that orchestrate interactions with core enterprise processes in new ways. It is a much leaner and more flexible portal approach than the monolithic employee portals familiar to many enterprise users.
A digital experience that combines mobile, portal, and other channels of engagement places the focus on the long-term customer relationship as opposed to one transactional interaction. Add in Big Data and machine learning technologies, and a highly contextualized digital experience can be achieved to meet user needs and expectations.
A digital experience that incrementally engages with a user across devices and locations often incorporates information collected from connected devices (IoT), allowing for seamless integration between people and machines. Digital experiences may also leverage new channels and modes of interaction, including automated chat bots and virtual private assistants that augment or completely replace traditional application interactions.
An effective strategy for application innovation places the user at the center to deliver a superior digital experience across multiple mobile, portal, and IoT channels. To achieve this strategy, every organization requires an agile platform that facilitates innovation by providing tools and services that fully support iterative and collaborative design, development, test, deployment, and measurement phases of your application lifecycle. This agile platform is known as the cloud platform.
The creation of innovative and useful cloud applications is about more than providing users with an engaging digital experience. It’s about redefining the role of IT to treat every enterprise business process interaction as an opportunity to exceed user expectations and to grow the brand value of your organization.
For more on digital experience, visit SAP Cloud Platform.