After meeting thousands of organizations looking to buy subsidiary management and corporate governance software, we have observed that buyers tend to prioritize the availability of features over the usability of the solution (intuitiveness, design patterns, loading speed, user support, etc.).
According to a recent Ernst & Young study, 96% of organizations have major challenges with their entity management software. In our experience, most of the challenges are due to very old archaic software built in the 1980s, 90s and early 2000s.
One of the primary business goals for companies when purchasing entity management software is to create a single source of truth and enable business stakeholders to self-service access data. entity so they don’t have to email the legal or tax team for basic information. entity information. If the entity management solution is outdated and difficult to use, this will prevent user adoption and the behavior of sending legal or tax emails for entity details will continue. 15% of software implementations fail due to low user adoption. Eliminating one-sixth of your affiliate management software project’s risk of failure is hardware.
At Athennian, we daily help customers move away from legacy entity management solutions such as Diligent Entities, Computershare’s GEMS, CT’s hCue and others, for the exact reason described above. These solutions show up well in demos and purchase reviews because they have a very broad set of features. However, features quickly become useless with difficult integration and low adoption due to software complexity.
In 2018, Diligent hired an expert user experience auditor – James Stantonian – to assess Diligent entities to better understand why their customers were so frustrated with the solution.
Below are key quotes from his report:
- “We also learned that the system [Diligent Entities] was so complex – a product of its meandering, ad hoc development – that administrators were afraid to let people add or change data for fear it would compromise them, and thus became human bottlenecks.
- “Ultimately, we concluded that core usability issues, multiplied by localization and performance issues, conspired to undermine the software’s main selling point: data integrity.”
- “Even more fundamental functions, such as extracting information in the form of group structure charts and reports, were a source of deep and ongoing frustration, the former being so broken that no one we spoke to actually used it.”
When you look at the history of solutions like GEMs and Diligent Entities, it’s easy to see why they’re both so important, but also so complex and difficult to use. They were both designed in the 1980s and 1990s when business software was in its infancy and there were no effective best practices established. Both solutions were originally designed as on-premises solutions where customers often make their own software customizations. This results in divergent versions of the solution that make updates difficult. Both solutions were also acquired; the original owners who designed the systems are probably no longer involved.
When we spoke to an in-house paralegal at a Richmond, VA-based security and protection firm that uses Diligent Entities. She had the following words to describe their experience:
“We have Diligent entities right now and we’re not happy… the overall usage of the tool makes me feel like I have to be an app developer to even use Diligent. There is nothing simple in the program. It doesn’t seem very friendly. Every time we try to use a new feature, either it is not activated or the feature is disconnected. Training only gets us so far. We put in a ticket and it takes 3-4 months for something to be fixed.
The head of legal operations for a large Dallas, Texas-based private equity fund described her general counsel’s patience expiring with GEMS and wanting to find a more modern solution:
“We currently use GEMS and have had it for 10 years. It hasn’t changed much in 10 years. And my GC was pretty patient and then the other day she was less patient and she said Jennifer was going to find something to replace GEMS.
The user experience is very outdated. There are a lot of clicks and for lawyers who are just looking for information, they give up and ask a paralegal to get the information for them.