Engineers don't usually build very good front-end systems, CSC's Hushon said, joking that you wouldn't hire an engineer to be your interior designer.
"We're starting to see the back-end systems peel away from the front-end user experience," Hushon said.
Hushon said CSC has a whole team of user experience staff members who mock up traditional design and then translates them into HTML and style sheets. The shift has been enhanced by the move to the Web and mobile model, he said, and it is part of what's driving the decline in the PC shipment market because people don't want to use their old PC when their mobile devices work fine.
Allan Thorvaldsen, CEO of Panorama9, said in an email to CRN that the growth in cloud makes it much easier to shift from focusing strictly on functionality to concentrating instead on smoother user experience. Doing so, he said, has helped companies such as Salesforce, Zendesk and Dropbox really distinguish themselves in the field.
Thorvaldsen said Panorama 9 always looks for "constant and never-ending improvement" through feedback on its products to improve the user experience and has hired internal designers and user interface developers. He said it all comes down to one thing: test, test, test.
"We constantly test our user interface. We're always asking ourselves if we can eliminate anything (buttons, pictures, tabs, text, etc.) on our app and website dashboard. Furthermore, our biggest asset to producing simple product is hiring developers who design as well as program," Thorvaldsen wrote in the email.
The challenge with all of this becomes a shrinking target market for channel players that don't change their approach, Hushon said. The key going forward for the channel, he said, is to stay on top of the game. One way to do that, he said, is for become partners to become their own "customer zero" to fully understand the product and where to improve it.
"I think there's more opportunity now than ever, but I think that its shifting," Hushon said. "There are going to be brand new companies that the channel is going to want to engage with that are better at the new style networks than the old style networks."
PUBLISHED OCT. 21, 2013