Some think the best way to demonstrate the value of usability in a corporate setting is to emphasize the resulting cost savings. While that may be sage advice in some organizations and industries, following it in the information technology and government arenas would cost you respect and a meeting. For some years, I was guilty of following this tack—before I discovered what really matters to executives, learned how finances and budgets work, and realized the true value of user experience lies not in cost savings at all, but in intangibles.
What Matters to Executives?
For eleven years, I worked in corporate America, for companies with 6000+ employees. My approach to finagling more funds for growing a usability practice with my companies started out like this: We can save you this much money and improve your customer relationships. I spent hours, poring over an Excel spreadsheet to see how the cost savings would add up and preparing to use my beautiful .XLS file to prove the value. But each time I presented my spreadsheets to managers and executives, it didn’t seem like they even cared.
Regardless of a company’s size, there are just a few things that really matter to executives:
return on investment (ROI)—the percentage change in revenues or sales you’ve achieved by investing in something
- the opinions of shareholders and investment analysts
- regulatory compliance and the possibility of lawsuits
- competition and market share
- public opinion
“Given the need for executives to demonstrate value to shareholders, they’ll always opt for the opportunity that shows the largest capturable market share and the best ROI.”
There may be exceptions—companies that prioritize other things—and perhaps those exceptions would be the companies that have invested heavily in human factors, usability, and user experience for decades now. But, for the most part, these are the key factors that keep executives up at night and are recurring agenda themes for boardroom and management meetings. Why?
Continue reading this article at: UX in the Boardroom: A Solid Case for Investing in UX :: UXmatters.