Sell-side Supply Chain and the importance of User Experience
As back-end Supply Chain specialists focusing on OMS, WMS, TMS and further beyond (eg: planning or procurement), we've always focused on core process design, business rules and the "usability" factor thus leaning heavily on function over form. As we move to the front-end of the supply chain via Sterling MCS (B2B domain) and ATG Commerce (B2C), we're being forced to think about the importance of (a) User Experience and (b) End Customers (as in customer's customer, hence the resultant higher panic levels if something goes wrong since the revenue impact to the business is instant).
Doing some reading around this topic, I stumbled upon an interesting blog by R J Owen titled "The Difference between Usability and User Experience" http://www.insideria.com/2010/01/the-difference-between-usabili.html . Though there are obvious overlaps in many cases, the blog tries to distinguish these two facets which together make a great UI-centric application. This is not about choosing one over the other, for successful implementations of such customer-facing applications, both become equally critical, which could also explain the reason why web-apps (B2B or B2C) are a lot more living and dynamic compared to say, back-end fulfillment rules in the supply chain.
Drawing a parallel from the auto-world, while we need solid, well-crafted engines in cars, the sheer fact that these engines are not in public eye all the time means that they don't need to change every year, unlike the body and exteriors, which would need a face-lift (literally) every year.