Software Spurs Growth

June 17, 2017

An article in Strategy + Business indicated that many of the world’s largest innovators are shifting their focus of their R&D from products to programming. There is an increasing awareness that automation and ease-of-use can do as much to boost productivity as brand new products and product types.

In fact, many small to medium business have discovered the sad fact that if their employees either don’t understand the company software or don’t like it, they simply will not use it. Either they will resort to paper and manual processes, or they will use the software incorrectly, giving any dashboard reporting systems bogus results.

How to solve this problem?
After all, software should help your business, and save you stress, time, energy and money. It should not be a source of frustration for you, or employee dissatisfaction for your workers.

To maximize your investment in software and use it to help your company grow, it must have the following qualities:
1. Be easy to use and understand
2. Be aesthetically pleasing
3. Accomplish the task perfectly

1. Be Easy to Use and Understand
Numerous studies have been done of how people interact with software. It is a truth that if someone does not know what a particular button does, they will not push it. They don’t want to break anything or make things worse. So they choose not to do it. Software needs to be ready to use, without needing to read a manual. Through the use of clear headers, visual identifiers, and hover-over tooltips, software should explain itself to the user, so they know what to do next, and what will happen if they push a button. If your software is incomprehensible to your workers, it will be unusable.

2. Be Aesthetically Pleasing
This may seem like a strange one to put on the list; it seems like a luxury to have good-looking software. But it is not. If your employees do not like looking at it or interacting with it, they will begin to find ways to not use it. Software that is cramped, and compressed on a small little window, with too many elements on a screen, and no white space, and bad color-design, is like putting your employees office into a small closet with the brooms and mops and bad smells, and telling them to do a good job working for you. It’s not going to happen! Give them something clean and modern to use, and they will love you for it, and you will see their productivity go up.

3. Accomplish the Task Perfectly
This is the part which you as the business owner are most concerned about. You want the work to get done. But you won’t get to this third step until you accomplish the first two. Then when your employees finally are using the software it needs to get the job done perfectly for you. This means that the software has to conform to YOUR business practices. It needs to do what your business does, in the workflow system that matches your company needs. Your business should not have to squeeze into somebody else’s idea of how to run your business. Yet that is exactly what you are doing when you buy off the shelf software. Software that is 80% of the way there, is still 20% off target for what you need. Your software should serve your company by tracking the data you need the way you need it; by giving you reports which answer the questions you are asking; by showing you at a glance the state of your business on any day.

The right software can spur the growth of your company. it can make your employees more productive and happy. It can accomplish the work you need it to do. Just like with any other good employee, your software can and should work for you.