Further to my post titled “The Bane of Systems / Processes”, I have been thinking about enterprise information systems that I see in companies around me.
Why is it that we have cool-looking, easy-to-use and feature-rich interactive interfaces for consumer web-apps (think Gmail, Google Calendar, WordPress, Facebook, Google Docs, Gtalk, Twitter etc.) and extremely boring, intimidating interfaces for enterprise apps (think Oracle, IBM, SAP etc.).
Think of your company’s information portal or expense management system or accounting package or HRIS, and you get the shivers. Why does it have to be so non-intuitive? Why do you have to plug in so many pieces of unnecessary information? Is it that consumers apps need to be simple and business apps need to be complex just for the sake of demarcation? Is it the organization’s way of saying “It’s not simple. Complexity is the name of the game. You have to learn our systems. It’s not the same as your everyday stuff”??
I am sure there are tons of clever people who can simplify these dull, complicated interfaces. Don’t we have business consultants who can conceptually simplify information requirements, consolidate data and make life easy for the millions of employees who use these systems? And don’t we have ace coders to breathe life into these concepts? Companies need to start thinking about this and embrace the simple, uncluttered and fresh look. This will go a long way in making work ‘look’ simple, friendly and interesting. There will be a sense of familiarity with the IT environment and I feel that this will be a critical performance enabler and enhancer.