Employees to IT: We can’t stand our enterprise systems

There’s a secret in today’s business world that no one talks about: Enterprise software is terrible to use. So terrible, in fact, that it’s actually inhibiting employees’ ability to do their jobs. 

Employees are yearning for a more personalized and simplified way to interact with enterprise systems – and they want dramatic changes in the way that they are served information. 

You might think that, with the billions (if not trillions) of dollars that enterprises have invested in these systems, they would be a delight to use. However, the reality is that enterprise software is bloated with too many features and too much data for one single employee to digest, let alone act on. Additionally, they’re so difficult to navigate that many employees forgo using them all together – plummeting engagement rates, slowing down task completion, and making access to critical data inefficient at best. 

To get a better sense of what’s fueling the challenges facing enterprise software, we commissioned Forrester Consulting to get feedback from those that frequently use enterprise systems – both IT teams and lines of business managers like sales, marketing, HR, etc. Specifically, we spoke with 109 business and IT leaders with application purchasing or application modernization purchase authority at companies with more than 1,000 employees. The resulting study¹ found that, overwhelmingly, enterprise software is falling short due to its complexity, poor mobile execution and “pull” shaped workflows. 

Here’s what the research unveiled: 

Employees want a personalized feed of data

Respondents to the study revealed that they are increasingly open to a “push” based interaction model, in which the most pertinent and relevant updates are fed directly to them through a personalized feed, rather than having to go searching for data to accomplish their jobs. With the amount of data available to employees drastically growing, it’s becoming harder and harder for them to access and digest the data they want and need to complete their work. 

Approximately 74% of respondents said they’d prefer to access a subset of personalized data rather than a comprehensive data set. Furthermore, 30% of respondents want personalized notifications of tasks that need to be completed and another 28% of respondents believe a personalized feed of individual actions and updates would improve how employees leverage, access, and take action on information. 

Employees want mobile-first work experiences

The study also revealed that a whopping 69% of employees seek an engaging mobile-first work experience. Unfortunately, these employees are out of luck as 55% of organizations have implemented three mobile apps or fewer. 

But, mobile apps are not the only way to deliver a mobile-first experience. Half of employees simply want the information they need delivered to them in a way that is optimized to the channels they are using. Meaning that employees would be happy if apps and relevant information would be made available on any of the devices or current apps they are using, such as to a mobile device or through a Slack channel. 

Employees want to streamline how they work 

Employees inherently want to get things done. Personally, I like to create to-do lists of things I am doing so that I can check them off! However, current systems make this difficult. The survey highlighted that 62% of employees delay completing tasks that require they log into multiple systems. Why? Because it simply takes too long – they would prefer wait until there are multiple tasks that warrant the time spent.

Instead, employees are asking for a solution that would aggregate data and tasks from multiple systems so they no longer had to spend time working across systems. 

Employees are hamstrung by legacy systems

IT teams and lines of business managers are painfully aware of the problems facing employees when they use enterprise software, but are unable to fix them. Most IT teams feel handcuffed to their legacy software as any upgrades would be too time-consuming or expensive. This concern prohibits IT from innovating to deliver the experience that users need. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as IT teams want to find a way to improve how employees access, leverage, and take action on information assuming they can do this without impacting existing systems. 

This data shows issues for the industry at large – showcasing the angst among employees that are tired of grappling with bloated, complex enterprise systems and are looking for a paradigm shift in how they engage with them to access their information. The silver lining of these challenges is that it’s a forcing function for us to finally rethink how we modernize enterprise systems, creating simple, single-purpose apps and personalized feeds for employees that don’t have the time – or patience – to submit to the work software status quo.

Interested in the full results? Download the free Forrester report here:



¹ Accelerate Digital Transformation With Simplified Business Apps, an August 2016 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Sapho

Topic: Employee engagement

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