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How can you tell if your application needs a facelift? Here are some telltale signs:
1. You turn on your computers and the screen shows a 1980’s “Green Screen” interface from MS DOS.
Today’s workforce is full of young digital natives, but many of today’s business applications seem stuck in the middle ages. This younger workforce needs to have an intuitive user interface (UI), similar to what they are used to using on a daily basis in Gmail, iTunes, and smart phones. Reading email on a green screen interface is just not appealing.
And this UI issue goes beyond just being intuitive – some companies are finding it hard to recruit younger workers due to their older, prehistoric looking applications.
It is important that we modernize our applications to look like the things we use on an every day basis at home, and move away from the dark (green) ages.
2. You have to go to nine different screens to enter one invoice.
Today’s application users seek simplicity and ease of use, and hope to avoid complicated entry methods at all costs. Having an application that requires multiple pages of entry is not only complicated, but time consuming as well.
For instance, imagine if in order to send a text message from your iPhone, and it was a character DOS based prompt or even worse if you had to use a rotary dialer. Today, phones are able to store countless phone numbers, and you can even dial by voice – making the phone much simpler and easy to use.
Whether it’s five minutes or five pages, if your applications are complicated and not easy to use, then it’s time to consider modernizing your apps.
3. You have to run from desktop to desktop to download an application onto each computer.
Today’s workforce is no longer in one place – employees are traveling, working remotely, and need to be able to access important information on their phone. Yet many companies still rely on a sneaker network, where IT professionals must run from desktop to desktop, adding applications to each computer.
For instance, it wouldn’t make much sense if Google had to visit everyone with a computer that used their search engine to load updates. That is why web-based applications are so great, they are easy to update, and very portable – accessible from your cell phone, iPad, laptop, or desktop.
If you have a fat client server, and applications that reside on every desktop then you need an application facelift.
4. Your application can’t integrate with other applications.
Today we live in an integrated world – where applications are constantly communicating with each other to make our lives easier. However, many companies still rely on stand-alone apps – where the information you enter into one app stays only in that app.
It would be like if you went to department store, and in order to use your credit card the cashier had to enter your credit card information manually, call the credit card company to authorize the charge, then enter a authorization code to finish the transaction. Today it’s just swipe and your done – all of the applications are integrated and communicate behind the scenes. A lot of places will even remember your information and what you bought last.
It is clear that applications can’t stand-alone any more. If your applications aren’t integrated, then your apps are in need of a facelift.
5. Your customers are all running completely different version of your applications
Today’s application provider should be able to support a single, multi-tenant application, allowing for multiple customers who can each personalize the application. This won’t work if all of your customers have different versions of your application, and you spend all your time managing and maintaining each version.
Back in the day, you weren’t a software provider; you were a custom consulting organization. It would have take two to five weeks of a consulting engagement just to make a change to the application.
If you are looking to deliver better services to customers, your apps needed to be workflow enabled. If you can’t run your business with a single code, then you should look into modernizing your app and taking advantage of newer technologies such as business process enablement.
Colleen is responsible for go-to-market planning, strategy and product marketing for Progress’ OpenEdge Business Unit, in addition to SaaS/Cloud industry thought leadership. Colleen joined the company in 2005 with 20 years of enterprise software marketing, sales, and product strategy experience, and has helped transform software companies into industry leaders, built strategic partnerships, designed acquisition strategies, and moved companies through aggressive growth stages.
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