Consumerization: Changing the Game in Business Software

By Steve Viarengo

There was a time not too long ago where just about the only time the typical person used software was on the job. The choice to use the product was made for him or her by the IT department and really there was no frame of reference as to whether or not the product was easy to use and intuitive or poorly designed. If one had to read a manual or attend a course to learn how to use the system that is just what had to be done.

The world has changed. Business software users today are saturated with meaningful and constant software interactions outside of work in almost every aspect of their lives, from “one click” purchases online, to taking a picture with a smart phone instantly posting it to social media, to seeing charts with all their accounts and spending in one place whenever they want. None of these interactions required attending a training course or reading a user guide to accomplish. Today, business software solutions are benchmarked by users, whether consciously or not, against products that provide these kinds of frictionless consumer interactions. 

If you are a decision maker in your organization when it comes to buying software for the company or even just your department, the employees that end up using the solution you choose will be measuring the product you select against the types of software they use in their daily lives. Their acceptance and satisfaction with the software will ultimately allow you to achieve the business benefits that you are trying to achieve. In the case of Human Resource Management software, this is especially true since this type of solution will touch every employee, not just those in a particular department or function. The benefits to organizations for selecting consumer-like software are also clear. Solutions that have adopted a consumer friendly look and feel are not only more easily accepted by your employees, but can save significantly in training and ramp up time. 

For organizations without a deep bench of resources to manage a software rollout, this can be the difference between a successful implementation and one that fails to deliver the benefits expected. As you evaluate HCM solutions for your company, this is a critical element to keep in mind.

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Steve is the Vice President of Product Management for Oracle Taleo Business edition Cloud Service where he is responsible for product functionality, roadmap, strategy and product marketing activities. He has close to 20 years of software experience focusing in product management, strategy and business operations working for large organizations, various startups as well as successfully starting his own company.  Prior to coming to Oracle he was the VP and General manager of the Sports market at the Active Network where he managed a division with over 30,000 SMB customers.

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