Simple Software: A Requirement for Project Workforce Management

I enjoyed this insightful article on, written by Anthony Deighton: "Simplicity: What’s Next in Business Software." Deighton explains that the simple and straightforward user interfaces that software users have come to expect on the web will, and must, influence enterprise software investments.

Deighton explains that enterprise software (such as traditional ERPs) became complex by promising managers the ability to "command and control" the work environment. But newer, smaller, "grassroots" applications are changing the end-users’ expectations and behavior. He writes:

The “consumerization” of enterprise software is rapidly underway. In today’s Web 2.0 and Internet-driven world, consumers download applications and use them on their own. Their expectations are that the software they use at work will be equally powerful, simple and engaging.

The world of Project Workforce Management is a collaborative one. To be effective in deploying and managing these solutions, we promote and depend upon on very high end-user adoption–from the project workers who report their time, expenses, issues and project status, to the executives who analyze that data on their dashboards.

Therefore, Deighton’s message is a critical one: "Simplify or Die," and I agree. The huge command-and-control enterprise systems with long, expensive implementations are already the dinosaurs of our industry. The software we use at work has to be fun, simple and should not require a user’s guide. 

However, as Deighton states, simple does not equal "lite." Vendors who can offer solutions that are simple and fun to use, yet powerful in their functionality–and the most effective at solving real business problems–will be rewarded in the software marketplace.

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