James McQuarrie is a UK based Senior Product Manager who helps teams design, build and deliver digital products and services that delight their users.

One reason why cross browser compatability is a business issue

Imagine that you work in a massive, multinational organisation. Imagine that this organisation has tens of thousands of employees in offices Worldwide.

Imagine that over 90% of these employees do a job that involves a computer. Now imagine that over the past 5-10 years you have been developing all of your internal systems to work over a company wide Intranet, accessed via a browser. Imagine that these systems have cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars and are now “business critical” systems.

Now imagine that you need to save money, cut your operating costs. You discover that you could save huge sums by not using Windows on all of your tens of thousands of employee’s computers and therefore not having to pay for the licenses. Imagine that even with the initial disruption and training costs of converting all of your staff from Windows users to a-free-operating-system users you would be better off.

Wouldn’t it be a shame if you couldn’t make this transition simply because your cost-us-hundreds-of-thousands, business critical Intranet systems only work in IE?

I often get told that; “All our users have IE, so we don’t need to think about other browsers.” In some cases that is true, I’m sure. But given the choice wouldn’t it make more sense to eliminate the business risk of relying on one browser from one vendor by making the effort to be cross browser friendly going forward? It isn’t as hard as many people seem to think.

The “imaginary example” above may sound extreme but you’d be surprised how many clients I’ve worked with who have been totally tided in to one vendor, one support contract and one way of working simply because they have become too reliant on one product or technology.