More than half (60%) of workers said new software had occasionally or frequently frustrated them within the past 24 months, according to a new survey by Gartner, Inc.
In fact, 56% of users said new software had made them wish management would bring the old system back.
"The democratization and consumerization of IT has resulted in employees who have more discretion over what software they use and how they use it," said Craig Roth, Research VP at Gartner. "Software product leaders often focus on adding new features to keep up with competitors, but this leads to overly complex products with poor user experience (UX)."
The global Gartner survey revealed three ways in which users can impact enterprise software adoption:
1. Personal Adoption
The survey found that 81% of software users have taken some kind of action — positive or negative — after a notable experience with software. For example, 40% of users have resisted using applications after a negative experience by using minimal features, avoiding or delaying use. After a positive experience with an application, however, 41% of users spent more time delving further into its features.
"Depth of application usage can have a significant impact on the value an organization receives from software. That perceived value becomes important when renewal or upgrade time rolls around," said Roth. "Consumption of new features helps technology providers increase the stickiness of a product, but when users ignore advanced features, vendors have less influence to secure upsells or renewals and stay ahead of competition."
2. Influencing Others to Adopt or Avoid
The survey also found that users frequently share their opinions on software with peers, with IT and with business leaders, either proactively or in response to requests for input. This "word of mouth" can start a chain reaction that influences whether others adopt or avoid applications.
For example, 42% of survey respondents said they have complained to peers after a negative software experience, while 38% have recommended an application to peers after a positive experience.
Additionally, 42% have shared negative experiences with IT, and 25% have shared those experiences with business management.
Social media is also becoming an important outlet for sharing opinions on software, with 10% of respondents indicating they had left reviews on social media or review websites after a negative experience with an application.
When users were asked what actions software vendors could take to make them more likely to recommend their products to peers, IT or business leaders, the top answer was to make products easier to use, cited by 51% of respondents. Adding missing features was a distant third place, cited by 30%.
Enterprise software users can also act as buyers in certain instances. The Gartner survey found that 34% of users say their IT department allows them to choose most of the software they use. In some instances, users may also self-acquire software through personal or business credit cards, or users will be billed based on consumption, although these arrangements are not yet commonplace.
"With SaaS revenue growing faster than the overall software industry, providers increasingly find themselves in a continuous purchase cycle," said Roth. "In this competitive market, maintaining high-value application usage by making UX a core competency is critical for generating positive business outcomes."
Methodology: The Gartner 2021 User Influence on Software Decisions Survey was conducted from April through June 2021 among 4,953 respondents in organizations with at least 100 employees in the US, France, Germany and Singapore. Respondents were required to be full-time workers or staff (i.e., not managers) who use technology products and services for their day-to-day work.
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