Enterprise software companies love to make promises about the transformative properties of their latest offering.

They boast the product will make employees more productive and make their work easier.

They promise it will be the be-all and end-all solution to business problems.

They promise IT the solution will integrate easily into other solutions — at a lower cost than competitors. And, they promise it will be easy to deploy, saving organizations time and money.

Bursting the Software Solution Myth

But the sad reality is that enterprise software, even new and celebrated Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, is largely unused by employees who find it complicated, cumbersome and hard to use with their other systems.

Vendors recognize the challenges IT teams face, but they do little to strike a balance between the software they sell and what employees actually need. Here’s a look at how enterprise software companies continue to get away with making the same promises without the results.

The buyer isn’t the user. IT departments understand much of what goes on behind the scenes in an organization, but they rarely actually use the same tools (in the same way) that they roll out to their users. Software vendors know their buyers and market accordingly, but that can leave things like usability and experience secondary — and that means users ultimately suffer.

Software hasn’t changed in 20 years. Some IT pros reading this may be thinking that they’re not a part of this trend because they’ve adopted a SaaS solution to replace legacy on-premises systems. However, a side-by-side interface comparison shows that Salesforce today looks just like Siebel did in 1999. And, the same goes for many solutions out there.

The problem is that software has changed, but not necessarily for the benefit of the user. IT has benefited from simplified implementation and management. New software has the same issues that traditional software had: a system of record harbors insights that employees need, but provides unusable interfaces and hard to navigate systems that force employees to ignore that data, regardless of how valuable it may be.

Change is expensive and hard to implement. Even if there was a great new solution that IT wanted to implement, enterprises often feel forced to use their current solution as so much money, time and training has gone into them. Enterprises spend $3.5 billion on enterprise software annually, but the reality is that a large portion of this budget is to upgrade, maintain, and support legacy systems that are already in place. But unfortunately, the upgrades and add-ons don’t actually make the software more useful to users.

Employees Aren't Using the Software

Existing enterprise systems aren’t going anywhere but, in their current state, most employees simply don't use them.

This needs to change. Employees need easy access to the data in these systems that is relevant to them wherever they are, from whatever device they choose, to make the best decisions for the business.

IT teams need solutions that integrate with pre-existing systems, meet the business objectives, and deliver employees an experience they love. Until IT can find a solution that strikes the right balance, legacy vendors get richer, while employees and organizations will continue to struggle to work efficiently and drive business growth.

Title image by Lionello DelPiccolo