Why Your Supply Chain Software Has to be User-Friendly
User-hostile software ultimately results in users going back to their old ways of doing things, and software collecting “virtual dust” in the corner.
The answer to this question may seem obvious - and to some extent it is, supply chain software has to be user-friendly, so that people can use it. However, you’d be surprised by how many of these softwares simply aren’t user-friendly. Rather than being so, these softwares usually are unfriendly due to over-complicating the software’s capabilities and dictating rather than adapting to user’s workflows. Global Trade Mag’s recent article details why this is such a common and problematic mistake that software companies make, as ultimately it results in the software collecting “virtual dust”.
Searching the definition of “user-friendly”, there are various versions, TechRepublic have a 10 point checklist whereas TechTerms has a 4 point one. Cross-referencing them, the same key points emerge; no complex installation or instructions, intuitive functionality, simple and efficient use. Over-complex, delivering multiple functions is not on there, neither is over 3 month implementations.
What Global Trade Mag’s article does well is articulate why it is so crucial for software companies to not fall into the trap of over complication, and instead focus on the end user experience. A big part of this is that increasingly that is what the market expects, and this expectation will only grow as baby boomers start to be replaced by Gen Y and Z in the workplace. These generations have grown up with technology on their (and at) their fingertips and have developed an intuitive feel and recognition of how tech should function and look above the hood. So there’s the future proofing angle, but ultimately for the baby boomers, tech that is over-complicated and clunky might not be unexpected -but it certainly won’t ingratiate itself to them.
Further, the reason why there has been so much growth and focus on the development of, and investment in, supply chain software is because existing processes have previously relied too heavily on manual workflows which recent events (natural disasters and covid) have shown are unreliable and need updating in order to mitigate future disruption. Like with any change, a complete overhaul rarely works when habits and workflows have already been established and embedded. However, a change that is able to feel familiar, easy, reliable and ultimately make the end user feel comfortable and engaged, is likely to succeed. That’s not rocket science, we all know we like to use things that make us feel good about ourselves and that make our lives easier. The alternative is a reluctant workforce who are unlikely to use the software because it takes more time for them to use it, it frustrates them, and ultimately it becomes redundant.
This is exactly what DeepStream avoids by delivering a best-of-breed point solution that only seeks to address the needs of our partners as they have expressed them. The intuitive interface and flexibility it offers for users to build their own workflows means that it is familiar because users can customise requests they send through the platform to their previous workflows. The change is that being on DeepStream removes pain points such as email threads, spreadsheets and manual reporting, making internal and external communication streamlined and automatically logging events on the Audit trail (to create downloadable reports). The simplicity of the product is what makes it sticky, and what keeps our users engaged. Instead of making our users powerless to the systems built into the product we offer, we empower them to both feed into our product’s roadmap and complete their usual day to day activities quicker and more efficiently. To quantify how quickly users are able to pick up the product, we have onboarded partners in one day, and they have been able to then send out their first request on that very same day.