Improving the User Experience: What Users Want


March 24, 2016 at 10:50 AM

This content is sponsored by SMART by GEP.  

Forgiveness and empathy are two words procurement software providers don’t usually use when describing the process for developing source-to-pay and procure-to-pay applications. They’re more likely to speak in terms of functionality and capability. But such human expressions are important to users, how they interact with software, and ultimately, a company’s return on investment (ROI). 

More business-to-business software providers are starting to think in terms of the user experience. But, as users see it, they are a bit behind their business-to-consumer counterparts. For years now, consumers have been able to easily shop online for everything from books and music to airline tickets and hotel rooms. They’re able to complete the acquisition process in a few clicks--including paying for the items--without having to refer to a manual or consult a help desk. Users want this same experience from the applications they use at work. 

That’s what procurement software providers like GEP are working toward, a consumer-like user experience for procurement professionals, also known as power users, and requisitioners, or regular users. With SMART by GEP, they’re working towards incorporating “forgiving” user mistakes in processes and being more empathetic to the pain users experience trying to get software to perform their routine tasks. They’re also working on making purchasing software not boring. 

Why is this important? If the software is as easy to use as a smart phone or tablet and the experience pleasant (making manuals obsolete), users are more likely to turn to it to complete their routine tasks and move on to more strategic activities. This helps streamline processes, reduce cost, improve compliance to procurement policy and increase ROI for the business. A pleasant user experience also reduces resources spent on training, quickening the pace for deploying the software.  

Yet it is not easy for providers to develop business applications with a lot of rich functionality that’s simple to use. But it can be done. When providers ask customers for feedback, they usually speak in terms of functionality, neglecting to share how users interact with the product. As such, providers have to think about how they create software, coming up with and developing products that have design at the center and functionality that enhances the experience of the user.

GEP is committed to the user experience. When designing new products, its development teams talk to users and refer to new research on demographics and usability to profile users and figure out what they want. With a concept in hand, they approach users for feedback and, through this iterative process, come up with products that guide users in a friendly tone through each step they need to complete routine tasks. In fact, users of the SMART by GEP platform already are experiencing the results of this work through such user-friendly functionality as task flow and upfront help. What’s your experience as a power or regular user? Let us know by responding to this blog. 

Learn more about procurement software designed to let you succeed at 

Also see the blog, Where Procurement Technology is Heading



Tags: Purchasing software Technology procurement software strategic sourcing software spend management software
Category: Blog Post


SMART by GEP is a complete, unified source-to-pay software platform, native to cloud, touch and mobile technologies with comprehensive sourcing and procurement functionality, including spend analysis, sourcing, savings tracking, contract management, supplier management, procure-to-pay and more.

Offered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), SMART by GEP leverages cloud economics to deliver a solution that easily handles the heaviest processing requirements of GEP’s Fortune 500 and Global 2000 clients, while eliminating burdensome infrastructure and support costs.

SMART by GEP is easy to set up, deploy and use, with no extensive training required. All GEP products are platform-agnostic (they work with SAP, Oracle or any other major ERP or F&A system)

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