I kicked off a meeting the other day by proclaiming, “business software sucks.” My boss always get a little uncomfortable when I say this, particularly in front of people who either make software or invest in software companies. But I believe it’s true.
It’s not that I think business software or business SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications are poorly built, or don’t leverage and utilize some of the best, most sophisticated technologies in the world. Clearly, the business software and cloud-based SaaS applications of today are 1,000 times more powerful than they were just a few short years ago. But like applications of the past, today’s modern business applications all suffer from the same problem – they’re designed and built by NON users. Generally speaking, product managers and engineers design applications, not the front-line workers who use the applications day in and day out.
This is not to say that product managers or engineers aren’t smart, talented people. They’re among the smartest and most talented people I’ve every met. The problem is that because they don’t do “sales” or “marketing” or “HR” or “support” or “finance”, it’s really impossible for them to truly understand the day-to-day plight of users or the intimate challenges of the job.
Of course, product managers and developers will argue that they incorporate user input to design their business applications. They do research, test groups, usability studies, focus groups and more. While these are best-practice measures, the reality is that it’s impossible to get input from everyone. And even if you could, it would be impossible to get 100 percent consensus. Some users would want the “button” on the left, others would want it on the right, and even a few might want “no button” at all. They ultimately build an imperfect business application that some of the users like all the time, or all of the users like some of the time.
This is why I believe that TrackVia fundamentally changes the game when it comes to business software, applications and online databases. We are democratizing business software by making it possible – and downright easy – for non-developer business users to design applications exactly the way the want it. So if they want the button on the left, right or nowhere on the page, they can do that. If they’re building a sales tracking software and refer to their patrons as customers, patients, clients or prospects, or any other term, they can do that. Or, if they have a unique workflow – a specific way and order of doing things – they can design TrackVia to match their unique, one-of-a-kind situation. In short, users can design the software EXACTLY the way they want it, versus hoping someone else does.
Many people still think of mobile phones or mobile apps when they hear or read about the consumerization of IT movement. But when I hear it, I think of a business world where I not only get to pick and choose the technology I want to do my work, but I actually get a chance to design and build it exactly the way I want it. And in doing so, I get the benefit of working faster, smarter, and better too.