Enterprise UX: The Wrap-up

Welcome to Fuzzy Math’s recap of the Enterprise UX 2015 conference. We’re organizing our blog posts around both the keynotes and the four conference themes: Insight at Scale, Craft amid Complexity, Enterprise Experimentation, and Designing Organizational Culture.

This week we kickoff our recap with Catherine Courage’s keynote

I first heard about the Enterprise UX 2015 conference back in February, when Mark forwarded me the announcement email from the Rosenfeld Media team with just two words: “yes, please.”

Within a day, Rosenfeld Media Publisher and conference organizer, Lou Rosenfeld was nice enough to answer all of our questions and we were officially on board. It was our first time sponsoring a conference, but since the majority of our client work is on the enterprise side of things, sponsoring Enterprise UX 2015 just made sense.

As part of the sponsor package, we were able to send a Fuzzy Math representative down to San Antonio to shake hands, mingle, and take in all things enterprise UX. I was the lucky recipient of that role, and now that I’m mostly back in the swing of things, I want to share some of my thoughts about the two wonderful days I spent in San Antonio — knee deep in all things enterprise UX (and Tex-Mex!). I want to give a special shout out to the Esquire Tavern and their huitlacoche enchiladas — really good stuff!

Every day over the next four days, we’re going to run a post here covering the highlights from my notes about each of the four conference themes: Insight at Scale, Craft amid Complexity, Enterprise Experimentation, and Designing Organizational Culture. The themes, which “tell the story of enterprise UX,” according the official program, were used as a way to break up speaker topics and give focus to panel discussions, and they did so pretty successfully, in my opinion. They also give a nice structure to follow when writing a conference recap, so it’s really a win/win.*

In addition to the theme-centric talks, Catherine Courage and Dave Gray gave the opening and closing keynotes, respectively, that deserve their own mention. I’ll cover Catherine’s opening keynote here and wrap up the series with Dave’s closing keynote in Friday’s post.

“Enterprise software is being compared to consumer software by the end users, and they will use ‘outside’ software if it is better, even if it isn’t allowed.”

Catherine Courage, SVP of Customer Experience at Citrix, started us off with some lessons learned from growing the Customer Experience team at Citrix from one to more than 300 over six years. Her opening point resonated well, as it’s something we tell our clients all the time: “Enterprise software is being compared to consumer software by the end users, and they will use ‘outside’ software if it is better, even if it isn’t allowed.”

The rest of her excellent talk focused on the four phases of the “experience evolution.”
I can’t do the entire talk justice here, so I’m providing some of my favorite nuggets from each phase:

Chaos

  • Hiring the right team is critical. (Note: I absolutely, 100% agree on this. I don’t think we would be who we are today without the people I share the office with everyday.)
  • You can’t change culture without trust and credibility, and you have to earn those.
  • Strive to be something people like. (Note: she used Virgin here, which is the only brand I feel some sense of loyalty towards, so I was sold on the talk at this point.)

React & Influence

  • Empathize with all users, from buyers to the internal team to end users.
  • Follow a process: Experiment, concept, prototype, test, iterate, and no grand reveals. Grand reveals, where the design is happening behind closed doors, usually lead to failure, and big failures at that.
  • Learn to say “no,” or else you are likely going to become the bottleneck, burn out your team, or deliver low quality work.
  • “UX is more about craft than how business works, but you also need to understand how business works.”

Refine & Differentiate

  • Look at the entire ecosystem, even if you aren’t asked to do so.
  • Community engagement is critical to your prolonged success.

Catherine’s talk was an A+ start to the conference.

More tomorrow.

* The themes also gave us a chance to put some pre-conference thoughts together, which you can find here.

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