It’s all about the Experience… Duh

By Dave Martin posted 04-04-2014 15:35


I am certainly not the first to make the statement that titles this post but I did want to point out that in the world of Enterprise Information Management (EIM) there is no more true statement, and we all know it.  This idea that the experience is everything really came home to me with a quote from Guy Kawasaki at this week’s AIIM 2014 Conference:

“Endure by enabling your audience to share & use your product their way.”

Never was a statement more true, and from my perspective I wish he had said it many years sooner because in the world of EIM, we’ve only now started to address it.

Yes, the rush is on to tackle the issue of user experience – for the end-user, power user, technical user, administrative user, just about every user. Almost daily now I see innumerable exclamations from vendors about their products and how it’s all about the user, and that the one big push is improving usability.  Blah, blah, bah.  It is a problem, has been a problem and will remain a problem regardless of the traditional ECM/EIM vendor rhetoric, and if you are only addressing it now, it’s probably too late. If your product doesn’t currently have a good experience, you’ve already lost the one thing you really, REALLY need… the interest of (you guessed it) the users.

As one would expect, the problem’s evolution is indicative of its root cause: the solutions were designed first and foremost to manage information, not enable the user.  The after effects of this have really taken their toll.  These effects included massive growth of information that was pushed into caverns of content to live (albeit managed) through the ages.  To exacerbate the problem certain types of content were managed by certain types of content management applications – of course these numerous applications were never (originally) built to work together.

In line with all this technology evolved all the angry users.  They could not access, use or share the content now trapped in these disparate systems.  No sooner did they learn the basics of one system did the IT groups put in place another aberration of that system trying to appease the now angry masses, which inevitably had the inverse effect frustrating them more than ever with new complexities.

This all happened for one reason… no one included the end-users prior to roll-outs. So what happens next is actually happening now.  The end-user uprising.

The Cloud is their saviour.  I repeat: the “Cloud” is their saviour!

Not to argue semantics but it is my belief this thing called the Cloud is just the Internet.  And Cloud-based applications are no more than Web apps.  Web apps, are awesome.  Why? Because Web apps are what end-users are familiar with.  Case in point: Hotmail (now Everyone knows how to use a Web-based email application, n’est pas? Yes even my 77 year-old Dad can do it and has been happily doing it for well over 15 years.  Oh, he can also use Facebook, Skype, and I’d like to believe if there was any reason for him to do so he could use some form of instant messaging tool.

Here enters SharePoint.

Not so fresh, off of the not so recent SharePoint Conference I have re-affirmed some views and statements I made in my pre-SharePoint Conference post, such that SharePoint is evolving its “experience first” platform for information management far faster than any of the other EIM vendors possibly could.  SharePoint’s distinct advantage is actually the one big knock the traditional vendors always pitched against SharePoint: it was new, unproven, not established.  Well jokes on them.  Microsoft’s approach to bring ECM to the masses and connect people and content in ways no one else could is now both proven and established.  More so it is still bringing new to the game.

Yammer, Skype, OneDrive for Business, Office 365… all Cloud based applications, all easy to use, all of which will likely be integrated into SharePoint (if they aren't already seamlessly integrated) to some degree before the end of this calendar year.  Ask any of the other EIM vendors when their seamless experience will be available and I guarantee the same answer you would have gotten last year, 3 years ago and even 7 years ago… it’s on the roadmap.

So to all of the traditional vendors I say: it’s too late.  Why?  Because you’ve already lost the one thing you really needed: the user.

#SharePoint #Collaboration #sharepoint #ECM #userexperience #EIM