Click here to close now.

Welcome!

IoT User Interface Authors: Ruxit Blog, Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Frank McCourt, Sematext Blog

Blog Feed Post

Acknowledgement matters

6983916617_d476e373cc_zIn face to face interactions we are programmed to recognise the importance of feedback. As we move many previously physical interactions online, are we in danger of forgetting just how important it is?

When you walk into a shop and buy something, a plethora of tangible and intangible signals reassure you that all is proceeding as planned. You have the goods you purchased. You probably have a printed (or emailed) receipt. You may have change in your pocket. The cashier actually interacted with you, whether with a cheery smile, calm efficiency, or brusque disregard. You leave, clear that something happened.

Most online services, of course, recognise that it’s important to maintain these cues; even when buyer and seller are continents apart. Amazon confirms a transaction on-screen, and then follows up with an email to acknowledge your purchase. It then sends further emails when goods despatch, and offers a variety of methods to track the process from ordering to delivery. In this, it is far from alone.

And yet, now and then, I come across online businesses which fail to grasp the importance of feedback, information, and acknowledgement. And, every time, it jars. Why, in 2014, are otherwise good businesses failing to recognise that they’re dealing with human beings, and that those human beings are programmed to expect interaction, reassurance, acknowledgement?

The latest online business to — apparently — ignore this important aspect of the human makeup is bill.com. A few recent projects have been for clients that have started to use the well-funded online payments and accounting service. For them, the service may well be great. It may do everything its marketing suggests, to streamline the process of receiving, processing, and fulfilling invoices. It may offer them great tools, and a great user experience. For me, submitting an invoice, the process is dreadful.

The initial premise is good. Simply email an invoice (in my case, generated automatically by FreeAgent) to a *@bill.com email address. No client-specific Excel spreadsheets to complete. No nasty Salesforce kludge, which looks like its UI was designed by a distracted toddler and their bad-tempered teddy bear. Just an email address to receive an invoice that my own systems are all geared up to create and track. This, I thought, is going to be great. The future of billing has arrived.

And then the wheels fall off. Nothing. Absolutely nothing happens. No emailed acknowledgement of receipt. No ability to track where an invoice is in the approval process. No email to say that payment is coming. Tens of thousands of dollars invoiced, and you know nothing for weeks; until the money eventually shows up — unannounced — in your bank account.

The first time this happened, I assumed that my client had perhaps failed to select an option to have email acknowledgement sent. They were, I knew, new to bill.com. They might not have it all set up correctly.

Twitter___Search_-_billcom_PaulMiller

Apparently not. Apparently it’s a good suggestion. For future updates. Really? For a company that’s been trading since 2006? Surely the electronic equivalent of the smile of acknowledgement, the grunt of recognition, the closing of the loop is rather more fundamental than that?

Are we really meant to drop out of this shiny,  futuristic and time-saving automated process to contact the client?

Hi. I just submitted my invoice for that project. Can you please confirm receipt?

How does that help anyone? It’s more work for me, it’s more work for them. And all the stupid computer had to do was send an email to let me know mine got through. A handshake, if you will. In both the networking and the real-world senses of the term.

As we move more and more online, we still need to acknowledge, reassure, report. Bill.com doesn’t, and it should. A human being at bill.com manages to do it on Twitter, obviously. Shouldn’t the same response to human beings’ need to feel engaged with be baked deep into their product?

Image by Flickr user vkanaya

 

 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Paul Miller

Paul Miller works at the interface between the worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web, providing the insights that enable you to exploit the next wave as we approach the World Wide Database.

He blogs at www.cloudofdata.com.

@CloudExpo Stories
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at th...
The most often asked question post-DevOps introduction is: “How do I get started?” There’s plenty of information on why DevOps is valid and important, but many managers still struggle with simple basics for how to initiate a DevOps program in their business. They struggle with issues related to current organizational inertia, the lack of experience on Continuous Integration/Delivery, understanding where DevOps will affect revenue and budget, etc. In their session at DevOps Summit, JP Morgenthal...
Agile, which started in the development organization, has gradually expanded into other areas downstream - namely IT and Operations. Teams – then teams of teams – have streamlined processes, improved feedback loops and driven a much faster pace into IT departments which have had profound effects on the entire organization. In his session at DevOps Summit, Anders Wallgren, Chief Technology Officer of Electric Cloud, will discuss how DevOps and Continuous Delivery have emerged to help connect dev...
Malicious agents are moving faster than the speed of business. Even more worrisome, most companies are relying on legacy approaches to security that are no longer capable of meeting current threats. In the modern cloud, threat diversity is rapidly expanding, necessitating more sophisticated security protocols than those used in the past or in desktop environments. Yet companies are falling for cloud security myths that were truths at one time but have evolved out of existence.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies drivi...
"We have a tagline - "Power in the API Economy." What that means is everything that is built in applications and connected applications is done through APIs," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
In the midst of the widespread popularity and adoption of cloud computing, it seems like everything is being offered “as a Service” these days: Infrastructure? Check. Platform? You bet. Software? Absolutely. Toaster? It’s only a matter of time. With service providers positioning vastly differing offerings under a generic “cloud” umbrella, it’s all too easy to get confused about what’s actually being offered. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Kevin Hazard, Director of Digital Content for SoftL...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world...
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of...
The time is ripe for high speed resilient software defined storage solutions with unlimited scalability. ISS has been working with the leading open source projects and developed a commercial high performance solution that is able to grow forever without performance limitations. In his session at Cloud Expo, Alex Gorbachev, President of Intelligent Systems Services Inc., shared foundation principles of Ceph architecture, as well as the design to deliver this storage to traditional SAN storage co...
"We provide a web application framework for building really sophisticated web applications that run on a browser without any installation need so we get used for biotech, defense, and banking applications," noted Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit (http://DevOpsSummit.SYS-CON.com), held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of pro...
"Plutora provides release and testing environment capabilities to the enterprise," explained Dalibor Siroky, Director and Co-founder of Plutora, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
SYS-CON Events announced today that JFrog, maker of Artifactory, the popular Binary Repository Manager, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based in California, Israel and France, founded by longtime field-experts, JFrog, creator of Artifactory and Bintray, has provided the market with the first Binary Repository solution and a software distribution social platform.
"We got started as search consultants. On the services side of the business we have help organizations save time and save money when they hit issues that everyone more or less hits when their data grows," noted Otis Gospodnetić, Founder of Sematext, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
One of the hottest areas in cloud right now is DRaaS and related offerings. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Dale Levesque, Disaster Recovery Product Manager with Windstream's Cloud and Data Center Marketing team, will discuss the benefits of the cloud model, which far outweigh the traditional approach, and how enterprises need to ensure that their needs are properly being met.
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect t...
Public Cloud IaaS started its life in the developer and startup communities and has grown rapidly to a $20B+ industry, but it still pales in comparison to how much is spent worldwide on IT: $3.6 trillion. In fact, there are 8.6 million data centers worldwide, the reality is many small and medium sized business have server closets and colocation footprints filled with servers and storage gear. While on-premise environment virtualization may have peaked at 75%, the Public Cloud has lagged in adop...