Over the last few years, the pandemic brought massive shifts to the world of work. Many companies pivoted to predominantly remote workforces and had to quickly adopt or upgrade technology to support their new normal. As employees became more widely distributed, organizations had to cope with an uptick in BYOD and device fragmentation, and fought to keep employees engaged during the Great Resignation. Supporting end users challenges many help desks at the best of times, and remote support can be even more difficult – especially for organizations running lean in the wake of the pandemic. In this environment, easy-to-use B2B software has become more important than ever.
At the most basic level, B2B software makers must hunt down and eliminate functional errors before they reach production. When software doesn’t work, neither can workers — and few companies want to deal with rising IT costs and falling employee productivity. The software that end users rely on to do their jobs needs to operate seamlessly, whether workers are collaborating with teammates through workplace communication tools, completing required training, or filing expense reports. B2B software companies must ensure that every release is free of functional bugs.
Reduce Risk and Increase Employee Satisfaction
As companies in many industries struggled through the pandemic, they became more cost-conscious. Many implemented strategic cost reduction programs, with technology investments coming under more intense scrutiny than they had in the past. Adoption rates are no longer enough to demonstrate ROI on software purchases; buyers must be able to demonstrate clear value to maintain existing spend levels.
Software that erodes employee productivity through unnecessary complexity is apt to increase IT headaches as well. On the other hand, software with a thoughtful design and intuitive UX saves time and may boost productivity.
In addition, B2B software that helps buyers protect themselves from liability — such as software that conforms to digital accessibility (A11y) standards — captures a competitive advantage. With more companies committing to creating diverse workforces, including people with disabilities (PwD), software that prioritizes A11y helps companies show they take diversity seriously, while reducing the risk of accessibility lawsuits under ADA and other local legislation. The two most common A11y bugs in B2B apps, issues with screen readers (55%) and keyboard navigation (18.7%), are often easy to address and can have huge ramifications for PwD if overlooked. In some cases, functionality that helps PwD is also valuable to other users — for example, video captions that aid people with poor hearing may also prove useful for those who work in noisy environments.
Well-localized software can also help companies reduce the risk of errors. Though approximately 1.5 billion people speak English natively or as a second language, more than 80% of the world’s population doesn’t speak the so-called “international business language.” As companies expand into new markets, being able to offer employees localized software can be a way to reduce errors, improve productivity and enhance employee engagement. Accurate localization can be especially important in technical fields and for units of measure. Systems designed to serve the broadest possible groups of employees, such as HR, training and payroll, can ensure faster adoption when offered in the local language, helping global enterprises maintain consistency and continuity while simultaneously respecting differences in regional workforces. Making sure knowledge bases, user guides and product documentation are properly localized is also key in setting users up for success.
Getting Ready for What’s Next
We live in a world where consumer experiences influence user expectations for B2B software. Technology innovators in retail, media and finance have raised the bar for B2B: workplace users want the same familiar, intuitive interactions they enjoy at home. Companies must go beyond thorough testing to uncover bugs — they must also capture feedback on how to streamline the UX and remove as much friction as possible from every task. This will become even more critical as AI, voice, and chat become more deeply integrated into the ways we live and work.
Read the State of Digital Quality in B2B Software report to examine the most common barriers to digital quality and how to overcome them.