E-commerce may be the future, but software development is rarely the enterprise’s core business. Building a whole IT practice is a big corporate headache to begin with: The mechanics of producing software that works is no mean feat in itself. But the real competitive edge is defined by “usability” – the User Experience.

Reality is not always probable, or likely.  — Jorge Luis Borges

 

Many enterprises are now struggling with the challenge of making UxP an integral part of the business – not merely an afterthought. There are two schools of thought:

We need an independent, professional perspective.

  • Maintain an arm’s length, “consultancy” relationship with an external service bureau design shop.This option requires strong process and accountability. It’s based on effective liaison with stakeholders and and a sense of trustworthiness. The enterprise company maintains its flexibility as regards its ability to contract for design services and can concentrate on its core business.

We need to evangelize and educate from within.

  • Build knowledge and advocacy within the organization structure. This option requires a strong management committment to establish an internal design practice. The company must invest in infrastructure and the development of a knowledge base. It’s a slower sell. The IT department and the enterprise itself must evolve into a “professional” software production house. The implications for organizational change are significant.

Are you an Innie or are you an Outie?

Of course, it’s not necessarily an exclusive either/or solution, nonetheless the debate between “innie” and “outie” is still at the heart of the struggle to promote usability.

I’ve worked both sides and have to admit, I’m also of two minds about it :

Are we (UX folks) most effective when our profile is as an ” external consultant” or as an ” internal advocate“?

 

In either case, the most critical challenge for any business during the next decade is implementing UX as a practice.

 

© The Communication Studio LLC

Published in LinkedIn on August 24, 2015

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