The value that mobile apps can bring to an enterprise is undeniable: faster communication, increased collaboration and instant access to data, whenever and wherever employees are. With 90 percent of enterprises planning to increase mobile app development this year, it’s safe to say that enterprise mobility remains a hot topic.
With that expectation, comes this realization: If an app sucks, employees simply won’t use it.
At Whitelotus Corporation, we’ve determined there are four key elements to building a successful enterprise app:
The development of great enterprise mobile apps requires orchestration and alignment among different functional teams, systems and stakeholders. Therefore, it’s crucial to kick off a mobile enterprise project with a strategy session. In this session, all project stakeholders come together to deconstruct an app idea down to its core value proposition and then rebuild it into the minimum viable product (MVP) definition for a first release.
By the end of this strategic discovery process, everyone involved should be aligned on what the first-generation app feature set will be, how it fits into your company’s overall mobile strategy and roadmap, and which performance metrics need to be met for it to be considered a success.
An app will only be worth allocating money and resources to if it solves a problem for your employees, allows them to perform their primary tasks in a more productive manner or makes their job more rewarding.
The trick is to find the overlap of your organization’s objective for building an app and the actual user need. And, by all means, avoid creating an app that is trying to solve so many problems at the same time that it fails to perform any task well.
It’s not enough for an enterprise mobile app to just solve a workforce problem. The app has to be intuitive and rewarding to use. Only when an app provides user experience that compares to a consumer app will it be used to the same degree.
The enterprise mobile application must meet employees’ expectations and deliver the most relevant information and experiences quickly and easily.
The saying “if you build it, they will come” does not ring true when it comes to enterprise mobile apps. Just like consumer apps, internal enterprise apps need a “go-to-market” plan that helps you promote the app and create awareness. You can’t just expect your employees to use the app; you have to actively pursue users.
Equally important, you need a plan for keeping users continuously engaged, and for maintaining and improving the app over time. Devices and operating systems are always changing, and the same goes for data systems that an app may plug into within the enterprise.
Companies that don’t start to address the demand for enterprise mobile apps that support employee job functions are overlooking a massive opportunity to take advantage of the ubiquitous nature of mobile devices. With the growing popularity of BYOD (bring your own device) in the enterprise, virtually every worker has a phone or tablet — which means providing mobile access to key information is more affordable and doable than ever.
As internal demand for enterprise mobile apps increases, the pressure to deliver quickly may force internal developers to take shortcuts that compromise the user experience. The problem is, employees are just like consumers of apps you can find in the public app stores — and they have an expectation that their work-related apps will offer an experience comparable to the apps they use at home.