Maya Angelou, a poet and author from the American Civil Rights Movement who died recently, is famous for saying “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” More than just an analogy for this blog – I think that it is also directly applicable to software applications.
Think about it. I’m not talking about how efficient the user experience is. Think about how the applications you use make you feel. Do some of them make you feel in control, more confident, empowered to take action with the authority to make decisions? What happens in a workforce when their main workflow application is migrated from some green screen relic to a cutting edge SaaS offering? Does it change their behavior and how they interact with clients?
In a past role at CSC I worked closely with some healthcare providers around the time when flat panel LCD computer screens were displacing CRTs – providing a very visible indicator of the age of IT in an organization. The hospital CIO noted that patients seemed more confident with their doctors where the new screens were installed and henceforth mandated they be installed in patient areas as the first priority. At the time, I thought it was the technology impressing the patients – but now I wonder if it was the patients clueing in on the doctors who felt more confident working with better equipment in modern surroundings.
If that is the case, then application modernization might have a much greater impact than reducing IT costs, or allowing people to access functionality from mobile devices. Application modernization might also be the key to empowering your workforce and making them more productive – or making your customers feel really good about themselves when they interact with your company.
Some research studies such as the App Attention Span, a collaboration of AppDynamics with the Institute of Management Studies (IMS) at Goldsmiths, University of London, have quantified the effect. They surveyed a couple of thousand users of mobile applications in the UK and USA, and studied subjects in their lab. In their findings they observed that people are measurably frustrated, stressed or disappointed when applications don’t meet their rising expectations of performance.
In order to meet those expectations, IT organizations will need to think about the modernization of their processes as well. In past application topologies, just over-provisioning of compute power, memory and storage in the tiers of the architecture was often sufficient to meet expectations. But with on-premises and public cloud hybrids becoming the de facto hosting environments, they require a different approach to maintain performance – particularly when the users are global and beyond the confines of the enterprise itself. In the last year there were plenty of examples of very good application performance such as an entire concert series selling out online in 45 seconds. And sadly there were also dismal performance of websites which were supporting government reforms. Think about the joy versus the frustration of those users. Think about how they felt – and how it shaped their sentiments for those organizations.
Application Performance Management is part of CSC’s Application Modernization Services. It gives organizations access to skills, processes and technology delivered as a service. It helps organizations to understand how their end users are experiencing performance and provides the proactive capabilities to address issues before they cause major business problems and negative emotional impact on the users.
So if Maya Angelou’s observation is extendable to applications, the users of your applications will likely forget the user interface and what they did on it, but not how your applications made them feel. How will they feel about your company?
Do you agree? What applications diminish your empowerment, or make you feel powerful?
By Dr. James (Jim) Serack, Application Modernization, CSC