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- September 15, 2014
- Darayush Mistry
- IT & Technology
I’m thrilled to announce that Coupa has joined the User-Centric IT (UCIT) movement. The name sums up the group’s charter; UCIT is aimed to guide IT in moving toward a framework that puts the needs of employees first, empowering them to be more productive, agile and effective. This aligns with Coupa's commitment to building software that works the way people do, and not the other way around, so when we heard about this initiative from Box, a Coupa customer and charter member of the group, we immediately raised our hand to join.
The initiative was launched recently as an outgrowth of a series of conversations between thought leader and author Geoffrey Moore and business leaders from Box, Marketo, GoodData, Jive, Zendesk and Okta, in which they defined these five guiding principles of user-centric IT:
1. User-Centric IT serves the business by empowering people
2. User-Centric IT adapts to the way people work, not the other way around
3. People, information and knowledge must connect in real time
4. Mobility is a work-style preference, not a device
5. Security should be inherent and transparent to the user experience
These principles are also represented as this cool graphic:
Essentially, what this movement is trying to convey is that user-centricity is multi-layered, and there are implications across various applications, which can have modules that are governed by IT policies, which are then delivered to devices and locations and so forth, and each of these can be impacted by a user-centric point of view.
What’s interesting to me about this movement is that I haven't seen a cross-industry initiative talk specifically about user-centricity, especially from an IT perspective. There have been a lot of discussions and movements around user experience and user interface, but those usually get boxed into a user sitting at a screen and doing something with it.
So far, no group I know of has galvanized around this broader, more holistic view of user-centricity and then also looked at it from an IT perspective.
The IT focus is important, because they're the change agents who are typically responsible for letting loose most of the technology within organizations. Even with today’s business-led enterprise technology deployments, IT still has a key role with enablement and support, so bringing them in on this user-centric view of the world is crucial. I think with this initiative we have a strategic opportunity to influence and champion a broader IT industry focus on putting the end user first.
We're happy to join with such big names in technology, because this is something Coupa has been championing all along in our corner of the world, financial applications. Historically, financial applications have been built to handle certain business processes, with end users as an afterthought. This is why the IT landscape for traditional financial applications is littered with projects that have failed due to low user adoption.
Most people don’t think financial applications and user-centricity can co-exist, even in the same sentence. They immediately think of ERP, and some of them visualize a set of blocks on the screen and their mind going numb.
Coupa was founded around the core principle of automating procurement and finance processes with one focus – the user. But, like our fellow members of this movement, we see the term “user” as multi-faceted. With Coupa, users can be employees who need to buy for business with consumer shopping ease. Users can be finance employees who want to be more efficient at getting their job done. They can be suppliers who, even though they are outside the Coupa customer’s organization, still interact with the system.
Because we take that broad view of the user, I felt like Coupa fit right in with this group, and I thought it would be great to join the initiative. We hope to learn how leading companies in industries that have been focused on user-centricity for a longer time are approaching it, and also show how financial applications can also be user-centric.
I think UCIT is going to be a great platform for an interchange of ideas across industries, and I’m looking forward to hanging out and sharing thoughts with like-minded IT and business people at future events.
If you’re already on this path or ready to embrace or just want to learn more go to UserCentricIT.com and take the test “How User-Centric Are You?”
Darayush Mistry is Vice President, Product Marketing, for Coupa.