As a software developer and consultant for The TM Group working with Microsoft Dynamics applications, it is my job to create custom applications and tools to assist users to perform their role as efficiently as possible. The Microsoft Dynamics products provide very comprehensive environments right out of the box; however, in some cases the size of the environment or the overlap in user roles makes having the one interface a hindrance to people completing their different roles within the organization.
At one point in time it made sense, both in time and money, to create large, one size fits all applications. Maintaining many different applications for specific tasks was a burden and added complexity to the IT department. However that has all changed now thanks to software being developed on modular, reusable, platforms that allows for the rapid development of role specific applications.
In one customer application the user’s role was to enter hundreds of leads at a time. Microsoft Dynamics CRM has many different ways of handling leads and importing them, yet none were effective to handle the data, qualification, and validation requirements. Using Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s Web Services, a custom application was rapidly developed that greatly improved that user’s experience within the software.
The role-based interface becomes even more critical when developing software for mobile and tablet platforms. These systems have slower processors, smaller screens, touch interfaces and might be using costly cellular data plans. On these platforms, the user interface must be laser-focused on completing the user’s task as elegantly and efficiently as possible. Unnecessary functions and unused menus simply consume more of the sparse resources available.
The goal of these role-targeted applications is to be more than a tool to perform a role; it is to create a relationship between the user and the software. With the software so focused on assisting with a single role, it feels different. The software feels less like a tool that is used to complete a task than an integral component to the role itself.
Having tools that fit the user’s unique role and provides a streamlined interface into the larger software package provides for a better user experience and a higher level of software adoption. The return on investment comes from better data quality by implementing role specific data entry and data validation.
by The TM Group,