3 questions to ask about usability in sourcing software

May 31, 2018 Lindsay Kroes

Ease-of-use is one of the most important features of a new software solution. After all, a successful implementation depends on your end users’ willingness to adopt the software fully and use it confidently.

It’s crucial to get the user experience right — but it can be difficult to assess and compare during the selection process. After all, no software company would admit to their software being ‘hard-to-use.’ And what may seem ‘intuitive and user-friendly’ for some stakeholder groups may be intimidating or confusing to others.

This is especially challenging for public sector teams who are making the decision via a competitive process; it is notoriously difficult to capture ease-of-use in an RFP response.

From our recent webinar with Government Technology, here are three questions to ask when choosing sourcing software to uncover how easy-to-use your platform really is:

 

How does the platform measure ease-of-use for stakeholders?

As the saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Sourcing software providers who are serious about user experience will be actively measuring and monitoring user satisfaction. They will use this feedback to identify trends and continuously improve the user experience — and they should be able to provide these results to you as concrete evidence of stakeholder satisfaction.

One example metric is NPS, or Net Promoter Score, which measures how willing users are to recommend a product or service to a colleague or friend.  

An NPS score of above zero is “good,” over 50 is “excellent,” and over 70 is considered “world class.”

Comparison of NPS scores for common tech companies

Bonfire regularly has an NPS score in the mid to low 70’s—that’s higher satisfaction than Netflix.

 

Find more information about NPS scores here.

 

Is each stakeholder group’s experience prioritized?

Sourcing software platforms have multiple end users: procurement team members, external vendors, internal evaluators, and other internal stakeholders in finance or IT.

Consult with stakeholders about their needs, and spend some time getting familiar with their process. During the demo or trial period of a software solution, ensure that you see the platform from each stakeholder’s perspective.

Consider whether the platform accommodates them in the way they do their work. Does the software provider understand what your stakeholders need, and have they designed the experience around their needs?

 

What do actual users say?

Ultimately, there’s no substitute for hearing from actual users about their day-to-day experience with the software. Look for case studies, webinars, reviews, and references, and where possible, pick up the phone or send an email to get your questions answered firsthand.

You will quickly find out whether there are enthusiastic users out there, and how software providers’ claims stack up to users’ actual experiences.


It takes legwork to uncover the true user experience of a software solution, but the investment is undoubtedly worthwhile. Not only does it impact the day-to-day work of multiple stakeholder groups, there are dollars riding on your successful implementation.

Listen to the full GovTech webinar Behind Closed Doors: What your Stakeholders Really Think about eSourcing for more advice on ensuring strong adoption of your sourcing software:

Webinar Encore | What your Stakeholders think about eSourcing

About the Author

Lindsay Kroes

Lindsay creates case studies, white papers, and other content to help modern sourcing and purchasing teams navigate the procurement technology landscape.

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