In my last column, I wrote about how there are two main kinds of people who exist when it comes to learning to use a new data management system: casual users and power users.
If you’re a power user and not just a casual user of business management software, you’ll know what a difference a software provider can make. Power users face unique challenges in their learning. They need a long-term software provider who is willing to partner with them to help them in their learning.
Power users tend to want to be competitive and want their business to grow and thrive; they need to partner with a technology vendor and not just buy an out-of-the-box software product like the casual user tends to do.
Power users exhibit several characteristics (see the above image) that a good software provider can match — kind of like a key fitting into a lock.
I can tell you I’m not much interested in having a customer who just wants the software “out-of-the-box” and never needs to talk to me again.
Out-of-the-box software that comes with a simple user guide generally doesn’t help the power user much. Power users struggle with user guides because everyone uses software differently. Your business runs one way, another business runs a different way.
When I work with power users, I help them to document their own processes when they use the software, creating a customized one-of-a-kind user guide. Humans evolve, so their user guide should as well.
My clients expect me to be a good partner and be there to guide them through their learning process. As they discover everything a good software system can do for them, they need me to work with them to not only help them make sense of data management, but actively tweak the software to suit their unique needs.
It’s important that custom additions to software fulfill the needs of the customer and also look at the bigger picture — they must integrate well to ensure a good user experience. Some software companies don’t build anything extra into the software. Others build everything into the software, but the changes don’t integrate well and make everything more difficult to use. It must fit and flow well and work together — that design process helps us hone our development process and solves their problems at the same time.
If you’re a power user looking to find a good software provider to partner with, I hope I’ve helped you paint a picture of the kind of provider that would be right for you.