Employees demand consumerization of business software

When was the last time you looked at the “Read Me” file or manual for a piece of software you just installed on your computer?

Probably never, or rarely.

But, I’m sure you can remember a time when you were taught how to use a complicated piece of office software. Either in a group training setting or one-on-one, someone had to show you the shortcuts to using all those tricky programs on your desktop.

Well, times are changing. There is a new movement in the business software world to “consumerize” the technology, with a goal of making software intuitive, engaging and free of training.

According to those at the New Learning Playbook, the consumerization of business software will have a “tremendous” impact on employees in today’s workforce.

With more youngsters like Gen Y and the Millennials entering the workforce, employees will expect workplace software to be as easy to use as Facebook. The days of training courses and software manuals will be rightfully left in the past. New software will be engaging, fluid and fun.

“Take a moment to think about the software your department uses, can you say this? Often the norm is one where employees endure lengthy training or spend hours poring over reference manuals only to be more confused than when they first downloaded the program.”

Business software had been purchased in the past by senior executives focused on automating business processes, never thinking about the solution being user-friendly or fun for their employees.

Today’s world is driven by the Internet and Web 2.0, with consumers who know how to use it and use it well, according to Shiraz Datta on Data by Da{t}ta.

“[Employees’] expectations are that the software they use at work will be equally powerful, simple and engaging.”

SuccessFactors, a provider of performance and talent management solutions, is one company leading the business software consumerization movement.

Seemingly inspired by the functionality of Facebook, Ebay and Amazon, one of their creations called SuccessDirectory uses a Web 2.0 approach to online work collaboration.

“Let’s assume for the moment that you work on a global team and collaborate everyday with team members across the globe that you have never met in person. Wouldn’t it be great if you could create a profile here where you could share your educational background, work history, post a photo of your choosing, list your professional training, languages you currently speak, ones you want to learn over next few years, books and music you enjoy, hobbies and some information about your family? In fact, creating and sharing your profile, could really help you get to know your virtual team members better and may even lead to doing your job better.”

The consumer software world has advanced so well that a manual is rarely needed, usually only when you encounter an error. Consumers install and dive into software, expecting the process to be easy enough to figure out as they go. Business software must catch up, with everything else they expect in the office, Gen Y is demanding it.

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One response to “Employees demand consumerization of business software

  1. Yes business software is becoming “consumerized.” thanks to the demands of all of us as we bring high expectations to the workplace following our experience using eBay, Amazon and iTunes at home.
    Jeanne Meister

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