User Adoption is the Key to a Successful Space Management Software Implementation
— November 1st, 2020
When most businesses purchase enterprise software, they’re looking for solutions to very specific problems. Which is why the evaluation process typically involves a checklist of features needed to accomplish the company’s goals. In the case of room booking, desk booking, and space optimization software, that checklist includes questions about current integrations, analytics capabilities, and implementation timelines. However, one important aspect usually doesn’t make it high enough on the typical evaluation checklist—the end user experience. And specific to space optimization platforms, there are two aspects of the user experience to consider: one for the platform’s administrators, and the other for the employees using the software to reserve space. User experience is arguably the biggest factor in the overall success or failure of any new room booking or space optimization software, but it is often not weighted appropriately during the evaluation.
Intuitive design and an easy-to-use interface are the most critical elements for successful user adoption of an application.
Regardless of how many bells and whistles the platform has, if administrators can’t easily navigate the interface, make changes simply, or access the reports they need, your company immediately receives less value from the software. Even more concerning though is driving user adoption for the employees using the tool to book space—if it’s not easy for them to book the space they need, they won’t use the tool. And if your employees aren’t using the tool, the program fails.
Meeting the Needs of Your Two Types of End Users:
The link between user experience and user adoption can’t be overstated. If you can’t drive user adoption, then the goals that originally made you look for the software will remain unmet. Therefore, the tools you select to manage your space and empower employees to reserve the office resources they need must be built with the end user experience in mind. However, most space management, desk booking, and room booking platforms have two primary users, both of which require different things from the software.
What employees booking space need:
When companies evaluate desk booking, room booking, and space optimization software, they are generally looking to either optimize real estate usage, reduce workplace friction and improve the employee experience, or a mix of both. The common thread between the two main business drivers though is the fact that the tools to book space will need to be put in the hands of the employees. This fact is undeniably driving companies to seek mobile solutions that enable employees to reserve desk space or meeting rooms from their own devices. But not all mobile applications are created equally.
Within just a few taps, any member of your workforce should be able to book the space they need. That’s table-stakes. A truly intuitive user experience, however, goes far beyond basic functionality. Once space is reserved, employees should be able to get point-to-point directions to their reserved desk or meeting room or find a colleague, directly from their phone. They should also be able to request catering for meetings, release unused space, and receive company updates, all with minimal effort. The easier the app is to use, and the more it reduces workplace friction, the more your employees will want to use it. And once they’re using the app, your desk booking, room booking, and overall space management needs are met.
When evaluating platforms, carefully scrutinize each company’s mobile app. Ensure that every aspect of the app enables an end user to efficiently and effortlessly book space, navigate your building, and manage meeting details.
What platform administrators need:
Setting up and maintaining an enterprise-wide space management system that integrates with multiple smart building technologies requires specialized software. This is where the checklist of functions typically comes into play—which types of sensors can the platform integrate with, can the platform manage catering, are there contact tracing capabilities, can the platform enable blue-dot wayfinding, etc. While each platform capability is important, how easy those capabilities are to access and use is an entirely different story.
Given the global focus on enabling a safe return to the office, consider the use of contact tracing reporting functionality—a highly sought-after capability in today’s environment. To limit the spread of infection once notified that an in-office employee tested positive for COVID-19, many businesses will seek to understand who may have interacted with the infected employee and what meeting rooms or workstations that person used. Without a data-driven reporting mechanism, the full scope of impact will be hard to determine—hence the checkbox next to contact tracing functionality during the original platform evaluation process.
But if the user experience doesn’t make it easy to navigate to and access those reporting capabilities, then drill down into specific employees, neighborhoods, and other resource interaction, little value is received from the reports. Additionally, in the event that an employee reports a positive test, time is of critical concern. A list of potentially impacted people needs to be made available immediately, as does a list of potentially contaminated spaces. Anything that delays those tasks is unacceptable. When vetting different platforms, considering how the primary administrators of the solution will actually accomplish their tasks within the tool is a determining factor in how effective the overall solution will be.
Most enterprise space optimization platforms force you to choose between product features and user experience. With SmartSpace Global (Poppulo), you don’t have to choose.
The intuitive user experience of the Poppulo mobile app makes it easy for employees to safely find the people, resources, and tools they need to be successful in the workplace. And the user experience for the platform administrators is also optimized to ensure user adoption. While features and functionality are a primary factor when evaluating any new software platform, to help ensure rapid adoption—from both user groups—adding user experience to your evaluation is key.