When It Comes to Usability, It’s Not About Your Super Users

Advanced functionality is great, but what really matters is making the system easy to use for your other stakeholders.

Thursday, March 31, 2016
BY: Ole Nielsen, Founder & Chairman

“Usability” has been all the rage lately in procurement software circles. However, for all the talk of “gamification” and “B2C”-style platforms, an important piece of the puzzle often gets left out. Procurement is a team sport. No matter how “usable” a platform might be for the project owner and strategic sourcing experts, the whole effort can fall apart if the weakest link can’t easily use the system.

Most of the usability emphasis is placed on the user experience for the primary project leader, in this case a buyer, strategic sourcing professional, or more often super user. This makes sense because the super user is the one sitting in the vendor selection meetings, writing the requirements, and making the final decision (or at least recommendation) in the sales cycle. However, an important piece gets lost in this discussion. Usability is not about the super user. Instead, you need to focus on the stakeholder who might only use this platform once in a very great while such as suppliers, business owners, risk managers, or finance. Without their successful involvement, there’s no way the project can meet its goals and all the technology in the world won’t help you.

Most business school curricula include operations optimization research. Key to success here is identifying bottlenecks in your supply chain and moving heaven and earth to eliminate them. One of the most famous examples is “The Goal” by Eliyahu Goldratt. In it, the protagonist leads his son’s scout troop on a hike and finds that the entire group’s progress is being hindered by the slowest hiker, Herbie. For the mission to succeed, the group needs to remove all the constraints from Herbie such as lightening his load and putting him in the front of the line. Letting the fastest hikers go ahead doesn’t help if the slowest is left behind.

At Scanmarket, we have a long history of focusing not only on the advanced functionality needed by super users but, just as importantly, making the platform simple enough for those who might be involved only seldom. To that end, our platform incorporates multiple features designed to make life easy, even for those who only use it infrequently, including:

  • Unique login link for stakeholders, reducing support requirements
  • Quick Call support for immediate access to eSourcing consultants
  • Intuitive user experience that requires no training

Find your “Herbie” and make sure he has what he needs to be successful. The rest of the team will thank you for it.


Easy. Proven. Results.