1 February 2013

Applying CX to the enterprise software world

Enterprise software is big business. It underpins the corporate world, counts untold end-users, and represents a significant chunk of IT spending. But enterprise software vendors often fail to apply the tried-and-tested methods of customer experience design to the way in which they get their products to market. Julie Hunt thinks they’re missing an opportunity.

Hunt – an analyst and consultant working on the strategy side of enterprise software – recognizes that the enterprise software world is familiar with CX. But the trouble, according to her, is that they’re not applying customer experience thinking to the entire lifecycle of their product.

Her approach is to identify three separate journeys surrounding the creation and sales of enterprise software: the “buyer journey”, “design phase user journey”, and “post-sale end user journey”.

And within these user journeys, she teases apart the “user”; it’s neither end-users nor buyers nor customers, but an amalgamation of the three. As she says, “Software vendors could greatly improve the usability and desirability of software offerings if they would understand and support interoperability between these customer/user journeys and experiences.”

In considerable detail, she describes each journey, and the challenges that a CX-aware vendor must face.

“Many traditional software vendors lag in adopting an outside-in approach to creating, selling and supporting applications. Often the focus is not on the buyer or user, but on internal goals that can conflict with the needs of customers. Vendors follow paths to success that frequently are disconnected from customer success and end user experience excellence.

“For many software vendors and their customer enterprises, the three journeys exist in silos, with disconnects between the teams that are involved in supporting and enhancing each journey. Integration and interoperability between the journeys must take place on both the vendor and the customer sides. And the vendor should see every aspect of the three journeys as an opportunity to demonstrate brand quality and reliability.”

Source: Three journeys: Life cycles of enterprise software buyers & end users (Julie Hunt, a.k.a. @juliebhunt)

Customer experience (67), Methodologies (11), User-centered design (12)