In the past few months, I've had the time to demo and talk to a number of different technology providers who have really upped the ante from an application usability perspective. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you should know my views about Rearden Commerce already. Rearden is revolutionizing the user experience for travel and personal services procurement categories. From a usability perspective, it's not like Amazon or Orbitz. It's better.
But Rearden is not alone in this new wave usability camp. Ketera, Oracle and others have made major strides of late in improving the general user interface with their technology (and even SAP, with it's 6.0 SRM release, appears to have finally put some thought into a practical UI as well). Coupa, also, offers a rather slick user experience. But now, I'll also toss into this well-dressed crowd JVKelly Group, a consulting and solutions provider, as well. They've created some really splendid looking applications in the performance, risk, sourcing and contract management arenas. The dashboards and user experience are the opposite of many of the more complex solutions I've used and played around with in the past.
Now, usability should never substitute for breadth, depth and scalability from a functional perspective -- which individually are equally if not significantly more important than a great UI. But what some of these providers may sacrifice in the Feature 500 race, they can often more than make for on the open road when it comes to user adoption. And after all, how many of us are really racing on the track?