Just about every workforce management software vendor has introduced a significantly redesigned user interface in the last few years. This has been driven by new expectations from customers and end users about what an enterprise software should look and feel like as well as new technology that has allowed applications developed to deliver rich, real-time user interactions over the web that were simply not possible before.
The problem is that a high percentage of end users are still using the older, “classic” user interfaces. This is because many people struggle to justify the cost of rolling out the new UI. However, with little effort, it is easy to tie hard-dollar gains to new UIs. In fact, the benefits can be so strong that they often justify other investments in WFM. With that in mind, let me give you the top five ways to hard-dollar benefits of updating your WFM UI:
- Improved user productivity. Today’s modern user experiences reduce the number of clicks and keystrokes need to perform the most common tasks. Editing a schedule or approving a timesheet can be done on fewer screens and with less user input. This helps reduce the amount of time users spend in the application. Then, the question becomes, what do you do with that extra time? Do you take it off the schedule or redeploy it doing more value-added tasks?
- Faster application performance. Redesigned user interfaces also incorporate new technology or architectures that increase the responsiveness of the application. Loading schedules, saving records and making edits all take less time with a new user interface.
- Increased adoption. Historically, adoption has been an issue for WFM applications. Many of the new WFM UIs are heavily influenced by consumer technology such as smart phones, tablets, televisions and video games. This consumerization increases the appeal and intuitiveness of the application which makes people more likely to use the WFM application, and the only way to achieve the benefits you expect from WFM by having people use the system.
- Lower training costs. Training is one of the biggest “hidden” costs of WFM. Not only do you need to train your entire staff when you rollout the system but you need to train every new employee on the system. The harder the system is to use, the more time (and money) spent on training and retraining. Because the new user interfaces are both simpler and more intuitive, users require less training to become proficient with the system. This means that training time can be reduced or – and this gets me really excited – you can focus your training on important concepts like “what makes a good schedule”, which drives bigger and better benefits from WFM.
- Reduced technology costs. The new technology and architectures used in the new user interfaces not only improve application performance but they can lower WFM technology costs. This primarily comes from reduced server costs due to more efficient and more scalable back-end processing and from reduced network costs due to more efficient bandwidth utilization.
Now, let me tell you another secret. I can read your mind and you’re thinking that these things are too hard to measure or too small to really matter. They aren’t and let me prove it to you. And to do that, let’s just focus on the first benefit: increased user productivity.
Imagine that the new UI only saves one minute of time per user per week or 52 minutes per year. One minute is not a lot of time. I know many organizations that have expected to save 5 minutes or even an hour based on a new UI but let’s I want to show how even the smallest savings make a big difference.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage in 2012 was $23.53 which means saving 52 minutes per year reduces labor costs $20.39 per employee per year. If you have 5,000 employees, your savings is more than $100,000 per year. This easily justifies the cost of an upgrade and adopting a new user interface. And, it only accounts for one of the five hard-dollar benefits I’ve listed above. Imagine the benefits you can reap if you look holistically at the benefits!