User Friendly Software is the New Black
If it’s not on the agenda when purchasing new IT systems, it should be! ‘User Friendliness’ focuses on your software product’s intuitiveness, efficiency and simplicity. But user friendliness is more than just simplicity, it’s about saving users time and saving your organisation money!
People with less advanced IT knowledge are in my opinion the best people to evaluate if a product is user friendly or not. Their reliance on clear and logical screen design and behavior is far greater than those of us who launched applications via MS DOS prompt on 386 computers back in the 90s.
The Mother Test
I recently performed the ultimate test of user friendliness: I put my very own mother in front of our product for thirty minutes. For you to understand the gravity of this exercise, allow me to explain that my mother only knows how to use Hotmail. She turns on her computer by pressing her PC’s red on/off button, her Internet Browser automatically starts, and she is automatically signed in to her email account. Her PC automatically shuts down at 11:00pm, which is usually when she has completed her forwarding of funny husband stories to overseas relatives and friends. Though I am sure the level of automation I have configured on her PC enables her ignorance to technology, trust me when I say it’s the lesser of two evils!
I ran my mother through two tests of 15 minutes each. One test was on our old (iCMS) User Interface, and the second was on our new (Expense8) User Interface. The results were predictable. She was able to code and submit expenses for approval in the new Expense8 User Interface, almost without explanation. The old User Interface left my mother needing a cup of tea and Tim Tam. The new User Interface left my mother smiling and realising that she can learn new technology without detailed explanation. Perhaps I should remove some of the automation from her computer?
User Friendliness = Faster Processes
So, why is user friendliness so important? Is it because people like my mother need to be able to use Travel and Expense Management Software? Yes and no. Yes – because a good Travel and Expense Management system needs to work for individuals with different levels of IT skills. No – because there is so much more to the User Friendliness than my mother and her Hotmail expertise. User friendliness is as much about creating faster and easier processes for the user.
Travel Management can be complex, often requiring various rules to be considered and upheld during the ‘Trip Creation’ process. Expense Management is even more complex, with various business, accounting and taxation rules needing to be followed. Should employees know your organisation’s travel rules, accounting rules, business and taxation rules as well as internal subject matter experts? Of course not! A Travel and Expense Management System should be user friendly so to hide the complexity of tasks being completed. The GST coding, Fringe Benefits Tax coding and possibly even General Ledger Account coding of expenses should be accomplished as seamlessly as possible. A great Travel and Expense Management System should utilize every element of data provided from the user and your credit card provider to automate decisions that users may get wrong. A user friendly software solution that guides users through the process in the least button clicks, will result in big time and cost savings for your organization.
Faster Processes = $ Savings
A user friendly solution like Expense8 will provide you with two main cost savings that just are a no-brainer:
- Less time spent cleaning up incorrect account and tax. The more complex decisions left to users who don’t understand the rules being followed, the more cases that will need to be fixed up by a Finance Team. Even worse, and possibly even more expensive, is Finance not resolving incorrect coding. Goodbye accurate reports!
- Less time to accomplish Travel & Expense Management duties. There are various roles in the Travel and Expense Management process, across different pay grades and organisational hierarchy levels. A good Travel and Expense Management system, like Expense8, respects that time is money and actively seeks to reduce time taken to execute manual processes. We have simplified the expense coding and submission process down to only two button clicks per expense, with zero button clicks required to navigate between expenses. The less time spent on regular duties, like expense coding, the more time and money you will save.
The Last Shout
Whether you are in the market for a new Travel & Expense Management System or a different financial system, it’s important to choose a solution that is user friendly and will appeal to the least IT savvy person in your organisation. That said, always consider that there is more to user friendliness than just great look and feel. User friendliness is as much about simple processes as much as it is about simple screen design!
Are you looking for a user friendly Travel & Expense Management Solution?