The cloud has changed the enterprise software experience forever and there is no turning back. Here are the 10 guidelines for buying new enterprise software and what to demand from your enterprise vendor:
- UI/UX – The visual design of the application has to be modern and in line with the software you use as a consumer (think Facebook and Google Apps). It also has to follow all the latest and greatest trends – for example infinite scroll and real time notifications to name a few. The user experience in the software has to be modern and easy to use, and one that requires no manuals.
- Application performance – Users expect “snappy” to come standard with systems as part of a great application performance experience. No one wants to wait for software — system response time will always be a critical part of the application.
- Customizability – Configuring the system and aligning it with business processes is expected from any enterprise software. It’s interesting that this has not significantly changed in the cloud era and enterprise software products, both on-premise and SaaS get good customization options.
- Smart – Automations, big data analytics, and features that save time and help you to focus on the important stuff – getting work done. You should expect the software you’re using to help you gain insights from your usage profile and the data gathered from the solution. And if it runs in the cloud, expect the software vendor to offer insights from the collective audience (e.g. the community) to benefit from the wisdom of the crowd.
- Integrations with the ecosystem – The software should be integrated with the other software and web services we use. It should support all the modern web standards. For example, seamless integration with identity management tools including OneLogin and Okta via standards such as SAML2.
- Sales organization responsiveness – Real corporations still buy from real people. They expect them to be responsive and provide the required information as quickly as possible so they can make timely decisions and get their work done. Gone are the days where we were willing to wait three days for the sales rep to respond. And yes, you should absolutely expect to connect with the rep over the phone, on a webinar, and through social channels like LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Support organization responsiveness – A great customer service experience became a competitive advantage used by smart SaaS organizations to differentiate themselves from the old guys. Modern enterprise software buyers actually evaluate the responsiveness of the vendor’s support organization as part of the decision making process. They favor vendor’s support teams that actually (surprise) pick up the phone and/or are available for a chat whenever the customer calls with a support question.
- Transparency – So much has been written about vendor transparency in the cloud era and it seems the bar keeps on rising. Vendors are expected to be fully transparent with their upgrade processes, system availability and anything that has to do with customer relationship management. The conversation takes place in the open and should be completely transparent for anyone to watch and participate.
- Community and Collaboration with customers – When the conversation is public, there is an immediate feedback loop through online communities. Software buyers value active customer communities and especially ones with strong support and vendor participation. Active communities help provide a better software experience by empowering customers and prospects to contribute to the product direction and share their experience and use cases with the rest of the community.
- Public reviews – Experienced software buyers are not going to trust anything the vendor says before a trust is established. The popularity of buyer review sites such as Capterra, GetApp, Software Advice and G2Crowd, has made it easier for software buyers to learn about the vendor from the eyes of their peer group and qualify the vendor before even visiting its website or speaking to a sales rep. Online review sites have became a critical part of the buying process and are worth your time before you end up wasting it on a poor buying decision.
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