The True Cost of “Easy” Software

Regardless of the services or products your organization provides, the right software is integral to your business success. In this digital age, your software is part of a toolkit that helps your business meet its goals and objectives. Because of this, software purchases are frequently made based on technical features or functionality. However, software has three important components that are interconnected: ease-of-use, functionality, and security. These are often referred to as a triad or triangle.

Ease-of-Use vs. Functionality vs. Security

The basic premise of the Ease-of-Use/Functionality/Security triad is that changing the capabilities of one component will have a direct effect on the other two. For instance:

  • An increase in a software’s Security will result in less Functionality and Usability
  • An increase in a software’s Functionality will result in lower Security and Usability
  • And, of course, an increase in Usability will diminish Security and Functionality

A good illustration of this concept, in a slightly related product, is the landline phone versus the smartphone. A traditional landline phone is simple to use, and there is virtually no learning curve. To make a phone call you lift the receiver, dial the number, place the phone to your ear and begin talking when the other party answers. Now compare this process to making a call with a smartphone. You may have to get past a locked screen, open the phone dialer or open the contacts, dial the number or sel ect the correct contact and the correct device number fr om that contact, and finally begin talking. In addition to making phone calls, smartphones also have dozens of other uses such as text messaging, games, internet access, still and video camera, image and video playback, calendar, phonebook, and thousands of apps! The landline phone ranks high in ease-of-use but low in functionality and security. The smartphone is more difficult to learn and use, but provides much greater functionality and some security.

While it is good for software to be easy to use, when software is too simple the end user will most likely lose functionality or flexibility (the ability to apply custom configurations to the software). This concept is especially true for corporate networking software. As we mentioned previously, business software is selected according to functionality. Therefore, corporate customers are most concerned that the software is able to reliably perform a certain task(s) well. The trade-off between security and functionality is common, but ultimately, businesses must know that they are safe fr om attack or theft.

Software Learning Curve

Regardless of whether software is extremely easy or somewhat difficult, there is always a learning curve involved with its adoption. After the software is configured and integrated with a company’s existing systems the end users need to receive proper training, instruction, and support. Users must be encouraged to fully learn how to utilize all of the available components of a software. However, many software users only learn the basics of the programs they use. This has the detrimental effect of leaving much of the software’s functionality “on the shelf”.

The True Cost Of Easy Software

Overcoming Resistance to Change

It is not uncommon for resistance to occur while new software is being adopted. Adoption resistance can happen for a variety of reasons. Achieving a successful software roll out requires users to embrace change. Change is more work, new business software involves users changing the way they do their jobs. Employees may already be familiar with existing software and become reluctant to put forth the effort required to learn a new one. This is especially true when they have a high level of competence with existing software that they are afraid they may not be able to duplicate with the new system. Some employees may be concerned their skills will be outdated, or they may be afraid leaving a negative impression if they don’t catch on to the new system. The good news is our lives are so ruled by technology that nearly everyone has learned to quickly adopt new systems with the proper encouragement.

The Remote Utilities product falls closer to the "functionality-security" side of the triangle. Remote Utilities can work “out-of-the-box", and 80% of its features will probably will never be used by casual or home users (our home license is free by the way). However, wh ere Remote Utilities really shines is in a corporate Windows domain network. An administrator can configure the installer file, deploy it across the network using a variety of different methods, using a mix of a direct IP address and Internet ID connection, and even use their own self-hosted Internet ID server. This is all available at a flat price with the lifetime "per operator" or "per remote computer" (again they can choose how they want to be charged) license. Together, this provides a level of flexibility that can hardly be found at any of our competitors.

In summation, there must be a balance between ease-of-use, functionality, and security that provides the best end product for the intended use. Remote Utilities has achieved this balance to best serve our ideal customer, which is a system administrator, and engineer, with a "technical" or "analytical" mindset.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

Jan 30, 2013 Gwen software, usability
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