Three Trends Shaping the Future of Enterprise Software

May 31, 2018
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When it comes to advances in enterprise applications, the reality is that consumer applications—and especially mobile applications—are setting the bar in terms of usability and adoption. Mobile apps, like Uber, Pandora, and Waze, leverage data and analytics to offer an almost effortless experience for the end-user. These applications are easy to use and guide the user, offering optimized user interaction patterns that simplify the task at hand. As users come to expect the same kind of experience from the technology they use at work, software providers will need to step up their game. However, for them to do so successfully, they should be aware of the following three trends:

  1. Great user design is table-stakes, and data and analytics will become increasingly fundamental to exceptional user experience.
  2. Analytics will become pervasive in enterprise business applications, offered as contextual and actionable insights—not as dashboards or reports—right at the point of work.
  3. Despite growing recognition of these trends, many companies won’t capitalize on the opportunity to use data for competitive advantage due to perceived complexity, cost, and technical tradeoffs.

First, user design has improved dramatically over the years, and its future evolution will require listening to and studying the user’s needs and behaviors to deliver an exceptional user experience. Additionally, data and analytics will be leveraged to personalize and contextualize the experience for the end-user. Netflix and Spotify offer great examples of this trend, delivering personalized recommendations based on past viewer history and peer behavior.  Similarly, in enterprise applications, data and analytics will be leveraged to offer workflow-oriented support for intelligent decision-making in an attractive, intuitive interface—a vast improvement over the user experience that is common for enterprise applications and BI tools today.

Second, it’s become increasingly clear that the future of analytics lies in contextual insights, not in dashboards and reports. This trend was evident to us as we were developing GoodData Spectrum, a suite of UI capabilities that enables our customers to leverage data and analytics to make analytics pervasive, contextual and actionable. As part of our research, we talked to hundreds of analytics users and found that, on the whole, end-users weren’t satisfied with the traditional dashboards and reports offered within enterprise applications and BI tools. These tools required the user to do too much work—understanding data structures, changing filters, interpreting data, and drilling in to find details. End-users also didn’t trust the results, fearing some mistake on their part. Instead, users wanted fast, reliable, data-based insights offered in an easy-to-understand format, with actionable information provided within the context of their workflow.

Third, while many companies have acknowledged these first two trends, they are concerned about making a substantial investment in these areas, and may soon find themselves losing business to competitors. While we’ve seen numerous examples of companies leveraging data and analytics to win over users and create competitive advantage, there are also many organizations who aren’t there yet. In our research, these companies consistently cited  the difficulty, cost, and time requirements of implementing changes as the reason for their hesitation. Many weren’t sure how to get started given their lack of available resources and competing priorities.

And herein lies Spectrum. Building an amazing user experience is ultimately about creating the most intuitive, efficient experience for that individual so they can get their work done quickly and accurately.

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