In the Intro and Part One of this series, we touched on why UI/UX is becoming increasingly important across source-to-pay technology (ease of use, user adoption, millennials). We also explored the behind-the-scenes aspects that define a truly standout UI/UX, as opposed to “just a pretty interface.” In Part Two we look at when technology becomes so seamless and works so well, you forget it’s there.
As we continue the quest to understand the importance of UI/UX, enterprise business technology must be flexible enough to adapt its functionality to accepted solutions that business users are already familiar with, and begin to expect them in their wider enterprise business applications. These standards often come in the form of brand-name technologies that users recognize and demand to become a part of the UI/UX experience.
Any business marketing 101 class will demonstrate that picking the right name can be a blessing and curse at the same time. There are several Harvard Business case studies that can point to some of the pitfalls. Being a leader and front runner of adoption can be a blessing when your name is so recognized that it becomes a feature that you can not go without. But this only holds true as long as the risk of being replicated over time is low. Unfortunately, things we commonly use, such as Sharpie, Post-It or Band-Aid, have become so much part of our everyday vernacular that we often don’t realize that there are company trademarks on them. Just think of all the names in the consumer world where this applies.
Another example is the the use of the PDF (Portable Document Format). Today, sharing business documents such as a pdf can be done from within any business document platform; but unless you use Adobe Acrobat or other Adobe product, you may not realize that they developed it. In fact, it was such a success that PDF was a proprietary format controlled by Adobe until it was officially released as an open standard on July 1, 2008, and published by the International Organization for Standardization.
However, the question of adoption and familiarity of name and functionality is so strongly associated with the brand in some technologies, that they are just not replaceable, and are expected to be there, regardless of platform. In this regard, consider the success of Microsoft’s Office Platform and how people take for granted the use of PowerPoint or Word doc. While there has been an increased rate of business users going from a Windows PC to Apple, many still choose to use Office, failing to realize there are built-in tools in the Apple OS for word processing (Pages) and spreadsheets (Numbers). So while Apple has its own variety of Office-like tools, these names and tools have become so widely used, users just expect to have them.
The proliferation of Google G Suite as part of corporate enterprises has pushed the envelope even further in the Cloud, where the ability to collaborate on Google has accelerated the usage of the Google apps. But the high number of users on Office products still requires the ability to export Google Docs to Word, Google Sheets to Excel and Google Slides to PowerPoint.
Given my role as a product marketer, I pay very close attention to brand names, their usage and their stickiness for users. Therefore, recognizing the ready adoption of business technologies that have become commonplace as part of our technology roadmap and technology features is critical for us in promoting improved user adoption and success.
An area where this is increasingly taking shape is with electronic signatures, a functionality that has become more important as part of the wider corporate efforts of digitization and adoption in the Cloud. According to Gartner, e-signature delivery has shifted significantly to SaaS, with 85% of Gartner clients choosing this deployment model. And while there are many e-signature tools available, DocuSign has demanded a large market share particularly in the realm of business.
Given the wide deployment of its use, and as part of the effort to encompass this recognized brand, our latest release of Determine Contract Management developed an approach to seamlessly integrate the entire DocuSign console on the Determine Cloud Platform. For those who have become accustomed to DocuSign in both professional and personal areas, DocuSign is part of their vernacular when it relates to e-signatures in general. Since so many companies have already streamlined all their company signatures with DocuSign, embedding it directly as part of Contract Management workflow only makes sense.
Therefore, in response to the wide usage of the tool, in the envelope state of our e-signature workflow we’ve created an open DocuSign button to allow direct access to DocuSign. Integrating the DocuSign console into Contract Management, users do not need to leave the Determine UI/UX to take on access to DocuSign. Using the DocuSign console, users can actually drag and drop tags into their contract documents and toggle between documents and signers.
The capability also exists for users to preview the document before it is sent for signature. For users familiar with DocuSign, this creates a lower learning curve for them to get familiar with the wider Contract Management workflow within the Determine Contract Management application. For those who may not be familiar with DocuSign, the integrated console becomes a harmonized piece of the wider solution, whereby they may not even realize they are using an embedded e-signature technology.
Since DocuSign is an e-signature tool, not a contract management tool, we’ve taken the steps to merge both worlds to increase adoption through one seamless experience for the user. As organizations look to continue the trend of digitization, adjustments like these with familiar branded technologies help organizations get to their organizational goals of improving automation, and decreasing the cost of doing business with both internal and external stakeholders.
Next time, we’ll we be exploring topic of workflow hand-off, and how an invisible – and seamless – transition is another critical user experience element.