Friday, September 12, 2014

Two person-weeks invested in a UI update bring over 300K in annual savings

… and this is not an unusual result!

In our recent projects I've started to pay more attention to everyting UI, getting great results every time. I haven't seen that kind of savings and productivity improvements from any other type of technology initiative. Think about it. It's hard to find another area of the enterprise that could bring that big of a return... on these small investments! 

'Middle tier' developers are keeping an eye on java, code, HTML and scipts, refactoring and keeping it fast and efficient. DBAs are on alert about everything that could be optimized in your Oracle databases. but hardly anybody tracks how people are using your system! What features are used the most? Which create the most trouble for your business guys? And which features they are looking for? (Not asking for  - that's a different thing!)

When it comes to the ERP, CRM, ECM and many other ‘back office’ systems that most businesses operate - IT managers tend to turn away from everything UX. They don’t have the budget, time or motivation for engaging creative teams, conducting usability studies and subsequent application rewrites. 

Now if you ask them over a cup of coffee - they agree that things like better layout and different screen flows would make their business clients more productive, but there’s no way they can afford things like concept development, focus groups or information architecture. If a company ever goes for a new web site, that’s a different story. But these internal stuff that “nobody sees”...

Even worse, users are known to blame themselves for any hardships they experience with any type of technology, so - chances are - you'll never know about these awesome gems of potential productivity - unless you examine them the right way.

Now let’s look at client's example. They operate a content management system used by 10 people and it takes them about 30 min on average to assemble a batch of content for workflow review. The  process is repeated about 5 times a day. After investing a week of development and a week of QA,  that process now takes an average of one minute instead of 30 min. The total savings for their organization work out to about $300,000  (Savings total up to 25 hours a day across all users, and an average pay of $50/hr - your annual savings come up to 300K)

On top of that, their development cost was zero because they had idle developers “on training” between the projects. And even if they were to hire a couple of expensive consultants from their ECM vendor - the first year savings alone would still make the whole thing totally worth it. 

Now there’re an even more profound benefits to be gained from our little productivity boosting mini-project:

Users no longer hate their Content Management system. They will now attach a link and store a file in the CMS instead of attaching a copy of a file. This eliminates duplicate and outdated copies, results in storage costs and speeds up their backups

Business users no longer have to spend a large portion of their day doing tiresome, repetitive work. Their mind frees up and they focus on marketing strategies - the job they were hired to do. This results in more, better quality marketing campaigns, more generated leads and better conversions

I can continue on but I think you’ve got the point.

So my question to you is - do you personally - and your organization - care about the UIs your business guys are using? Have you seen similar results? Do you think our results are typical?

Please let me know what you think 

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