\ How to Avoid SaaS Abandonment and Make Your Enterprise Software Work For You
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How to Avoid SaaS Abandonment and Make Your Enterprise Software Work For You

By Jeff Cole, Director of the Experience Design Group, Skuid

Spending on enterprise software has exploded over the past decade. According to a recent survey by Siftery, companies buy 10 times as many software products from 20 times as many software vendors, and the average software budget for a company is four times larger.

But as companies invest heavily in hopes of improving their productivity and bottom line, they have grown disillusioned. The sad truth is that much of enterprise software becomes shelfware. According to a recent report by International Data Corporation (IDC), 96% of organizations end up shelving all or some of the software they've purchased over the past 10 years. Many of the organizations now find themselves with severely fragmented systems of record littered with disparate, disjointed business processes.

When properly developed and leveraged, enterprise applications can improve processes, streamline operations, and powerfully impact daily business. But these outcomes can seem impossible to achieve once data and processes become siloed across different applications and databases.

Business stakeholders from every department need systems that can bring together data from multiple sources and deliver it to the right person at the right time-via apps tailored to specific users, workflows and processes. Most importantly, systems need to be flexible and offer the freedom to iterate as business changes and grows. Without this integration, the systems will gather dust on the shelf, delivering little or no business value, yet account for a sizable chunk of the budget. 

So, how do you prevent your software from becoming shelfware? Whether you're working to optimize an existing or you're strategizing your next software purchase, keep these three key principles in mind:
User experience is king.
The quality of your software's user experience (UX) can be the difference between an app that solves problems and an app that creates problems. 

The clearest indicator that software has ineffective UX? Users avoid it. If you have user adoption rates less than 100%, you need to improve your UX. And if you regularly hear users complain that it takes too long to view or enter information, or that they feel like they're having to go through too many pages, this indicates poor UX, too. 

If this sounds familiar, consider a user experience redesign-it can add immense value to your software with increased productivity and more positive customer interactions. 

Generic doesn't work.
As companies grow, so does their data. Under great pressure to manage and secure this data, companies often settle for one-size-fits-all software, despite how it limits the ways they do business. It isn't long before the "shrink wrapped" solution reaches its limits in delivering value to the user and the business. Next stop-a dusty shelf.

When it comes to enterprise software, one size doesn't fit all. No company-nor its users-is exactly like another. Each company needs different systems to support their unique business processes and the way their users interact with their applications. Software should align with the way your business runs, rather than force users into a box. 

Look for platforms that allow you to custom tailor your software to your business-and keep in mind that custom doesn't always mean code.  
Be fast and be flexible.
Companies need systems that are flexible and offer the freedom to iterate as quickly as their business changes and grows. Without this, software will quickly become outdated, and once again find its place on the shelf. 

Because most companies buy generic, off-the-rack software, they're often forced to customize it with code. Code is expensive, time consuming, inflexible, and far from optimal. The concept of bespoke software soon feels unattainable.  

To stay flexible and agile, companies need to move away from the constraints of writing code. No-code platforms that let anyone design and build apps are far better solutions. Platforms that empower citizen developers will help companies reduce their development time and increase their ability to iterate, adapt and deploy the applications they need, when they need them.

Here's the bottom line. 
For companies to truly thrive in the digital world, they need to be able to streamline data and processes. More accurate data will unveil valuable business insights, and even reveal revenue that you didn't know you were missing. Custom-tailored software and processes will help employees get work done faster so they can service more customers better. And accomplishing this with no-code tools makes the task profoundly possible. 

So, dust off that shelfware and place it back on the table-no need for another rip-and-replace. It's time to make your enterprise software work for you.

Jeff Cole comes to Skuid after serving as Director of Product at OpenTable. 

Prior to OpenTable, Jeff worked in marketing, brand development, and strategic B2B and B2C consulting for some of the world's greatest brands from Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Home Depot, HCA, Columbia Healthcare and Tarkett to Regional and National bank and lending institutions.

Related Keywords:SaaS, UI Design, business efficiency

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