Wanted: A Flipboard approach for the enterprise

Enterprise software vendors are busy talking about user experience, but the reality in the enterprise is vastly different. Where is an analytics powered Flipboard to tell us the corporate story?
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

I was recently talking analytics, data and enterprise software with a chief information officer at a massive company and the topic of user interface came up repeatedly.

The problem: It's one thing to break down corporate silos, aggregate and define data and then distill it into knowledge. It's quite another to put that data and insight into a format that is actionable for the masses.

In other words, we need a Flipboard for the enterprise. What's the corporate story for the day/month/quarter/year in data---revenue, churn, supply chain, day sales outstanding etc.---at a glance?

Source: Usertesting.com


Shouldn't our analytics applications look more like this?

Sure, enterprise software and analytics players have attempted an infographic approach and worked to boost their presentation skills. Meanwhile, every vendor I talk with goes on a user experience rant about how they are becoming more friendly, mobile and consumerish. These talks to date have been more aspirational than reality.

More: UX goes mainstream? User experience testing budgets surge | So long, spreadsheets -- hello in-memory cloud financial tools | Workday launches Workday 21, aims to step up user experience | SAP CEO McDermott: 'Suite always wins' in cloud too

Here are a few disconnects that prevent large enterprises from this Flipboard dream:

  • The vendors that get user experience and interface may specialize in an area---say CRM or HCM---and protect their interface instead of using it to tap into more corporate data.
  • Partners in a supply chain network are protective of their data and may require a company to use their software and interface, which oh by the way stinks.
  • Data silos within a company also make it difficult to suck into one beautiful user interface anyway.
  • And enterprise software players talk user experience, but generally lack the chops. Everything looks good in Photoshop.

Add it up and this CIO was willing to buy enterprise software based in part on the user interface and design approach. We're not to a Flipboard stage yet, but there will be pent-up demand should we ever get there.

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