Why Enterprise Software Must Be Sexy

I’m going to put in my two cents regarding the sexification of enterprise software.  The argument of whether enterprise software needs to be sexy (to keep up with consumer products) is still on the table.  See the CIO article below.  I vote “Yes” and here’s why…

CIO article by Brian Watson: Newer innovations like software as a service, Web 2.0 and mobile applications are broadly available to those outside the IT department. For those consumers of business software, freshness and flash are key selling points.

Enterprise apps are made to serve a specific purpose.  They track project time (like Standard Time®) or access human resource records (like SAP®), or any number of specific jobs.  People use them every day, and their value lies in the depth of service they provide.  Apps that do a lot, command the big bucks.  Try to replace them, and you’ll have a huge battle.

But still, people have to use them every day.  And if they don’t like them, they gripe.  That huge battle to replace them suddenly looks pretty small compared to dealing with unhappy employees.   No big app can last forever in the face of employee dissatisfaction, regardless of its value in the enterprise.

And guess what?

All those employees have consumer items they compare the enterprise apps to.  Cell phones, big screen TV’s, PDA’s, cordless phones, etc.  They begin to expect the big enterprise apps to employ some of the sexy usability enhancements they find in their personal consumer items.

Think about it…  Would you rather use an enterprise app with 80’s-style “VCR” controls or those of your cool new MP3 player?  That’s why enterprise apps need to be sexy.