Beauty as a Competitive Differentiator in Enterprise Applications
A decade back, in 2003, my employer had spent nearly $600 just to get me trained and certified in SAP. That was the going rate to get into the elite club of consultant who has understood nuances of the market leading enterprise application. Those days the trend in the enterprise application world was to create big monolithic, functionally rich, ERPs. Simplicity or Usability of the product was least of the considerations- as matter of fact the labels in initial versions of SAP were in German. The main focus was on addressing all foreseeable business requirements across all verticals and sub verticals in one go. One size fits all. The organizations were urged to change their business process to suit the architecture of those ERPs. They termed it 'IT- enabled business process reengineering- BPR'. Obviously this focus made the enterprise applications very complex to comprehend. This, in turn, created an assured revenue stream for the product vendors in the form of training and certification.
Over a period of time, the trend has completely reversed. The GenNext does not have time or inclination to undergo elaborate training in software applications. They want the applications to be intuitive. One does not need a user manual to understand how a face book or LinkedIn works. The users of iPod do not depend on a user manual to understand how to use the application. They just know it - intuitively. This new reality has finally dawned on the enterprise application vendors. The functional richness in enterprise applications is a given- hygiene factor. That is no more competitive differentiator. The new competitive differentiators are usability and performance.
This is precisely what Infor is attempting through 10x. Leveraging Beauty (for want of better term!) as a competitive differentiator. This is my key take away from the last week's session by Soma, EVP Global Product Development of Infor at New Delhi. Infor 10x unites a multi-purpose middleware platform (ION) featuring social, mobile, analytical, and cloud capabilities with Infor's suite of solutions. It also delivers a pervasive, in-context business intelligence embedded throughout role-based workflows and makes it easier to put the power of analytics to work for businesses.