Business User Expectations - B2B

The ability to meet user expectations is an essential component of business models, without which, many projects can experience failure despite their functionality and alignment with business objectives. User expectations must be clearly understood and met in order to acquire and retain a steady economic profit from your product. The widespread issue of not adequately meeting user demands and expectations often results in rejection of the service in question, and avoiding this should be a priority for application companies.

One field that is often overlooked is usability, as users will refuse to use an application that does not deliver the expected level of usability despite its range of functionality. Many application teams hold the misguided idea that functionality equates to usability and that a high degree of functionality is prioritized while usability will follow when in reality, these are two completely separate areas. This mistake of overlooking the importance of application usability is both cost and time inefficient for the company behind it.

Performance is another field which is rarely prioritized by application teams. There is a widespread belief that the degradation of performance is a viable exchange for higher functionality when realistically this is far from the truth. Users have repeatedly demonstrated the opposite through their rejection of applications that do not hold up to their performance expectations.

Badly communicated process changes is a shortcoming that many application teams experience. Users tend to have a deep-rooted resistance to change and this is often reflected in the reception of major application changes by consumers. Many companies tend to hold the belief that users will have an easier time adapting to the improvement and upgrades of applications when they see the increase in functionality that accompanies it, yet reality does not reflect this. Clear communication between the company and consumers about upcoming changes can yield much better results in terms of acceptance and adaptability.

Investing in building a better relationship between the IT and business side of things will allow you to have a clearer understanding of client desires and demands. It is also important to be able to look at the entire process behind business goals as to easier identify any problems in order processing which may result in tasks taking up more time than needed.  

An essential area of focus within any application team should be service level agreements, as their establishment can significantly diminish miscommunication between companies and consumers. There is often a disconnect between the producers' intentions and users’ interpretations of the product. For example: when users ask for system availability between specific hours, do they expect for the system to be continuously running uninterrupted between those hours or update breaks and bug fixes acceptable? These grey areas need to be defined clearly in order to allow for better communication which is the exact goal behind service level agreements.

Service level agreements allow for the barrier between to IT team and consumers to lower, which gives users a better understanding of the limitations and issues that the IT suppliers are dealing with. Fostering an open relationship between the two helps diminish some of the blame that users often place on IT suppliers when applications are not working as expected, and from this, everyone benefits.