Why Your Enterprise Mobile Apps Shouldn’t Suck

by: | Feb 23, 2016

Do you, or anyone you know, suffer from nomophobia (no-mobile-phone phobia)?

Think we made that word up? It’s an actual condition that University of Missouri researchers discovered, although U.K. based research organization YouGov coined the term in a study it conducted that found that 53 percent of mobile phone users in Britain become anxious without their devices in reach. We can all agree our mobile devices have become so essential that being without them can be problematic. But it’s not the devices we depend on—it’s the connectivity and access to data, functionality, and ways to communicate. It’s the apps and the rich experience they provide to us, and enterprise mobile apps shouldn’t be any different.

Enterprise Mobile Apps = Enterprise Experiences

The trouble is, enterprise mobile apps (the apps that our employers create and require us to use at work) often don’t provide the same type of consumer-level quality and experiences that we’ve come to expect from those we use in our personal lives. In many cases, the apps we use from work just plain suck.

Enterprises that don’t start to address this user experience disparity are overlooking a massive opportunity. Despite some data security and infrastructure challenges, Accenture found that more than 80 percent of executives agreed that enterprise mobile apps:

  • Are “necessary” to realize the benefits of digital within the organization
  • Are “integral” to their organization’s growth and profitability
  • Will be the “dominant” interface to internal systems in the future, especially for the growing workforce of millennials

Consumerization of enterprise mobile apps

“Users now demand consumer-type friendliness and ease of use in the applications they use at work,” writes Adrian Bridgwater in Forbes. Bridgwater is describing the consumerization of mobile applications in the enterprise. In other words, just building an app for your employees isn’t good enough—your apps have to be easy and enjoyable to use, like the ones we get from the public app store and use on our own time.

Unfortunately, most organizations are not successful in meeting the expectations of their employees when it comes to their mobile apps. They follow the same internal process for their internal mobile apps as they’ve previously done when creating things like Intranets and other internal software — assuming that because an app is just for employees it doesn’t require the same care as it would for external customers.

This thought process has to change for enterprise mobile apps to be successful. Companies need to treat their internal facing mobile apps no different than their external facing ones. They need to treat employees like any customers, and follow the same best practices to deliver delightful consumer-grade experiences. If they fail to deliver this kind of experience, the apps simply won’t get used — and the investment in mobile app projects will be a failure.

3 Intersecting trends: A growing opportunity

The expectations of the workforce are raising the stakes for the enterprise when it comes to mobile apps. Fortunately, there are three intersecting trends that make it easier than ever for enterprises to create great mobile apps:

  1. The rise of BYOD and  BYOA: Employees are bringing their own devices and apps to the workplace.
  2. The emergence of mobile development platforms: New platforms, like Xamarin, are making it much easier and efficient to build apps.  
  3. The evolution of the way enterprise IT teams perceive the mobile application opportunity: No longer focused on just “locking down” BYOD, IT is now embracing opportunities to mobilize their enterprise workforce.

At a time when employees and business partners demand one-tap access to all the tools and information necessary to get more done faster and make the best possible decisions, it’s time for IT to seize the opportunity to become a key driver of mobility in the enterprise, rather than just being pulled along at the the behest of the business units.

Learn more in our latest ebook, Making Good on the Promise of Enterprise Mobile Apps.

Making good on the promise of enterprise mobile apps ebook

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