At the center of a well-designed application, whether it’s CRM, ERP or anything else that helps streamline your processes, is Usability, Scalability and Sustainability; it’s that simple.
We can build an ambitious application and spend a lot of money doing it, but at the end of the day if there is no user adoption, it is time, effort and money wasted. Some organizations put in KPIs (key performance indicators) and other methods to implement mandatory use of the application (we see this a lot when coming onto a CRM or ERP implementation), but that yields poor quality data and a lot of unhappy users. If the application puts the users at the center of the design, however, then user-adoption is not only organic but also enthusiastic. When users enjoy using an application and see the value in it, not only are you gathering valuable data for your business analytics, but also identifying hidden opportunities for efficiencies and new ways of revenue creation. Users are always the key to making an implementation successful and every good application will have users at the center of its design.
Too often we come across legacy applications that are rigid to change, not scalable, and simply do not make business sense anymore. Typically, these have cost a lot of money to implement so we end up tolerating the application rather than leveraging it. To avoid this classic design pitfall that a lot of businesses have made, it is imperative to always question – is this application scalable? This design principle applies on both, macro and micro levels – from the time you are deciding on which application to buy, to the time you add something as small as a field on the form, it needs to be scalable.
As with everything in life, an application too needs to be sustainable. A sustainable design is when available support teams can cost-effectively support, maintain and grow the application long after it has been implemented. Often we come across CRM requirements that are very specific to a small step in the process and is unable to be met using standard out-of-box features. But before building a heavy and expensive custom-code to meet such requirements, it is important to stop and do a design principle check and ask yourself – is this sustainable? Simple and flexible designs are sustainable, a concise documented hand-over is sustainable, a well-trained support team makes an application sustainable, but it all starts with a sustainable design.
When making important application design decisions, always keep these three design principles at the center of your process – Usability, Scalability and Sustainability.
Author: Nawal Mohsina
Principal Consultant, MCA Connect