Written by Riccardo Lorenzi
In this article, I’m going to analyze why Digital Adoption Solutions (DAS) are going to be the future. We’ve used IBM as an example software vendor whose solutions can be boosted with a DAS.
One of the leaders in the software industry, IBM, is also the most prominent name when talking about CLMs, Collaborative Lifecycle Management platforms. However, through the past years, we’ve seen a progressive evolution that made IBM add layers and layers of features (and complexity) to its products, like IBM Jazz or the IBM Rational Software.
This led to very complete software, very difficult to master, so challenging that recruiters consider knowing it as a skill.
Why does it happen?
This happens because IBM extended the coverage of their products into multiple fields and processes with its solutions. On one hand, this is an improvement, but on the other hand, it impacts IBM software documentation: a whole life won’t be enough to read IBM manuals, and you will probably need like hours and hours of extra video tutorials too.
So we can easily spot the first problem we face on this kind of software: its lack of intuitiveness for the end user. It works as a wall which won’t let the user understand the system properly and quickly, saturating their memory.
Two factors are mainly responsible for that:
- “Outdated” design: IBM products evolved through iterations in the last 20 years, let’s take IBM Rational Team Concert as an example, one of the most recent products in Rational portfolio: the first version came out in 2008, 11 years ago. Remaking products from scratch, when they are so complex, is very difficult, as users need a complete retraining and the risk of displacing them is too high.
- Perpetuus updates: Update, update, update. Competitors have a feature you need to include or some customers are asking for it. This is expected in technology, but in IBM, all evolution made the software grow too much in complexity: you can do many things with it, but you should find the right path before. A good UX design could improve usability; nevertheless, it has strong impacts on the software identity. For example, the documentation created becomes obsolete, you have to completely reset your customer support and this might cost more than what the company would earn by adjusting the User Experience.
Interaction design: the term is a new trend, not yet born when IBM was the leader in the market. It puts emphasis on the interaction between the user and the software, and its purpose is to simplify usability, making software easier to understand.
A great example of interaction design is We Transfer, a well-known site where people can share any kind of files. Its website is what we call “one interaction” because each page has just an only possible action by the end user. this works fine because the user can quickly understand what he is doing, memorizing the process, as it is very simple:
Nowadays, websites that require one or a few interactions are very popular. As they are simple to browse, they don’t need much support or tutoring, they are usable by design.
Why changing the interaction design is not an option?
Let’s see instead what Team Concert looks like:
The screen shows a lot of panels with keywords, hyperlinks and buttons, and it takes some effort to understand what to do. There are new terms to remember, processes that brought the user out from their workflow (like the hyperlink), all mixed with potentially infinite tabs, spread all around the page.
Getting support for this kind of application is also pretty complex: if you are experiencing troubles or you don’t know a process, you can watch a 10-minute video and try to solve the problem by yourself; on the other hand, describing your issue over the phone to the support department is not that easy. Fustration might occur.
Quite often, the only way to overcome this situation is through using brute force – where brute force means memorizing the processes and going on.
But this isn’t an efficient solution: memorizing a process requires time and tutoring, so the time required is doubled.
A valid alternative to improve IBM usability:
A valid alternative to completely avoid this issue is the so-called guidance software, or digital adoption solutions, such as Newired.
Newired helps the user through processes, reducing every part of it to a one-interaction process, which is linear and easier to remember. Also, when the user forgets how to proceed, Newired will be ready to help: in place and when it’s needed.
This fixes a lot of problems with all business software: keywords and processes are no longer important to remember, and the tutoring is done by a software. The clue bonus that Newired achieves, enhancing any kind of professional software, are:
- Processes are easier: by adding only a possible interaction with a possible route, we prevent users from getting lost, enhancing their experience, making it less frustrating.
- Faster tutoring: Users won’t need specialized people to explain how to use a software,. With a guidance layer, this is all pre settled. You can avoid misunderstandings and create an environment in which anyone can learn at their speed.
- Low effort: With Newired, your resources will consume less time when using CLMs , and your ROI (return on investment) will be higher.
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