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Tim Strehle’s links and thoughts on Web apps, managing software development and Digital Asset Management, since 2002.

Productivity in the Service Economy

Jakob Nielsen on Productivity in the Service Economy:

"It's great to employ usability methods to simplify intranet user interfaces and expedite performance within existing tasks. Do it. Millions of dollars are waiting to be saved for the average company.

But, as the saying goes, we should also work smarter. Enterprise software has largely failed until now because it's cumbersome and it automates awkward and inefficient procedures. Business process reengineering must become more than a slogan. In particular, we must change how we define it; rather than simply "automating existing processes" we should be "designing workflow that's optimized through computer support."

Through methods such as field studies, task analysis, and user testing, organizations can discover new ways of working and better ways of supporting work with information technology. In particular, immense gains are possible through better collaboration interfaces, better knowledge management, and better decision support. Most existing systems are unworthy of their names: they don't help people collaborate better, they don't increase knowledge utilization, and they don't support better or faster decisions. But they could. That's the next frontier for enterprise usability.

[...] Usability is key to increasing the service economy's productivity, because only attention to the way humans work can help them work smarter. If we adjust our focus accordingly, we won't just save billions of dollars from productivity gains -- we'll also save millions of jobs and create millions of new ones."

Tue, 30 Mar 2004 14:34:18 +0000