Creating effective software and applications for businesses has long proven unusually challenging. Usability Geek pointed out that the inherent complexity of enterprise solutions has combined with a cultural focus that neglected the user experience to undermine effectiveness in typical business-focused solutions. In the field service management software sector, this has meant organizations have long been mired with less-than-ideal solutions built around legacy technologies and operational models. The rise of mobile devices in field service settings is converging with development innovation to change this situation.
The mobile device revolution has opened up new opportunities for greater visibility and coordination in the field service sector. However, these gains won't be achieved using legacy software systems that aren't built with user experiences in mind. Instead, organizations must rely on user-friendly software to reduce learning curves and foster innovation. It is important to note that user-friendly software and applications don't feature just a slick interface or intuitive navigation. Many key capabilities go deeper. Three attributes to look for to identify user-friendly software are:
"Intuitive user interfaces should be a de facto expectation in software and applications."
1. Similar interfaces across devices
Intuitive user interfaces should be a de facto expectation in software and applications. What many enterprise systems struggle with, however, is having a different setup depending on the device. In some cases, users will be able to only view files on a mobile device, for example, while they can fully interact with those files if they are on a desktop PC. Other common issues include navigation limitations when relying on touch controls instead of a keyboard and mouse or graphic elements that don't display well on smaller screens.
Creating a common user experience across device channels doesn't just empower workers to get the job done on a mobile device, but it also reduces the learning curve associated with deploying new software.
2. Data integration
Data fragmentation is a major problem in traditional enterprise software systems. Inc. magazine reported that integrating information across application channels is increasingly vital as businesses become reliant on consumerized software models. Ensuring information remains up to date and accurate across multiple systems is essential in establishing efficient applications and software. Companies can coordinate processes and operations by making sure centralized data systems bring information from multiple applications together under a common umbrella.
In field service management software, this data integration often takes the form of different app modules, such as inventory management, scheduling and dispatch, billing, and order processing sharing data with one another to allow for greater coordination.
"Customizing dashboards based on job role can be particularly beneficial."
3. Easy data visibility
Dashboards have become a major topic in the business software world. As enterprise apps, including mobile field service software, become central hubs for a wide range of operations, many feature dashboards that function as an app's primary touch point. A dashboard should be more than just a stopping ground that helps users navigate deeper into the system. Organizations can use reporting and business intelligence tools to showcase key data points to users on the dashboard, making it easier for them to get the data they need without any digital digging.
Customizing dashboards based on job role can be particularly beneficial, as it allows organizations to offer the most relevant data possible to users, making it much easier for employees to interact with key data and systems.
Any technology investment will come with some learning curve. However, user-friendly software will feature a combination of intuitive controls and streamlined backend capabilities to minimize the disruption users face. In many cases, a simple tutorial can be enough to empower field service workers to take advantage of well-designed systems, especially as business-focused software increasingly incorporates elements of consumer apps into its design.