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Hey Salesforce, the 1990’s Called; They Want Their UI Back!

Microsoft CRM 2013 launches soon and users will soon discover a radically different user interface (UI).  Gone are the traditional forms and views that have slowly evolved from the stationary enterprise workstation over the last decade.  In its place, a truly modern UI that enables workers to focus on business processes and works across devices and browsers.  It's authentically digital and not tied to outdated metaphors or legacy processes.

[responsive]image[/responsive]By comparison, Salesforce.com seems stuck.  Their UI has changed very little since the 90's (see picture comparisons below).  They continue to use skeuomorhic design; a dated (80's) approach that even Apple is moving away from.  They do not seem to be embracing business process.  They seem- stuck in the 90's.


UI Drives User Experience, which Drives User Adoption

Why does user interface matter so much in CRM?  Because CRM is one of the few enterprise software categories where users have a choice in using a system.  ERP, accounting suites, EAM, and CMS purveyors don’t measure project success in user adoption.  They don’t have to.  CRM users, especially in sales, can be especially particular about the systems they use.  If a system is too much trouble, too hard to access, too confusing to look at or just too ugly, they won’t use it.  CRM firms do have to worry about user adoption.  That is why they worry about creating user interfaces that people love.   

Do You Love or Tolerate you CRM?

Good UI, and the user experiences (UX) it drives is becoming the key differentiator in enterprise software.  Justin Rosenstein, co-founder of Asana, recently told Fast Company “the incumbent enterprise vendors are building software people tolerate. The future players are building software people love.”  Which begs the question, is your CRM something you love, or do you just tolerate it? With the latest upgrade, Microsoft saw an opportunity to give CRM users something to get excited about; something that would make their business processes smoother and their digital user experiences exciting.

Microsoft CRM – Completely Reimagined

So why did Microsoft CRM change?  Microsoft recognized, as part of the organizational alignment with the Windows 8 design principles, that user experiences needed to be redesigned to be authentically digital and fast and fluid. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Corporate VP Bob Stutz said that CRM was “completely reimagined … streamlining it so that the user can easily see what they need to do, accomplishing their tasks quickly and easily.”  In the new UI, social data is ‘in-context’ and not just there for it’s own sake. 

See the opportunity form below.  The process is clearly defined and not hidden as just a field on a form.  The form itself is fast and fluid, meaning users can get what they need without tabbing through all of the related data.  Distractions are removed and users can focus on the real-life business task at hand.

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Saleforce.com – Stuck in the 90’s

Salesforce, however, seems stuck in it’s past.  Jason Lemkin, Co-founder of EchoSign, explains it this way on a Quora post that poses the question, ‘Why is Salesforces’ UX so bad?’

“SFDC is a child of the late '90s and thousands of apps and millions of custom workflows run on top of it.  SFDC is incredibly powerful.  It's been seriously facelifted once.  Change for change sake, that breaks all these workflows and integrations, would be a disaster”.

And it doesn’t look like it has changed.  The pictures below show two Salesforce.com ‘New Contact’ forms.  The one the top is from 2006.  The bottom is from today. Can you spot the difference? That’s over 6 years.  No change.  Just fields on forms.  And tabs. LOTS of tabs.

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If you are stuck with CRM that you just tolerate, contact Customer Effective and let us show you something you will love.

Note:  I can’t take credit for the title of this post.  Follow the tweet link above for more information.