Today’s enterprise workers are consumers at heart. They rely on apps for connecting with others, getting news and directions, shopping, gaming and more. And they bring that same mobile mindset to work, where their expectations for intuitive, easy-to-use apps have carried over into the workplace.
But there can be a world of difference between their experiences with personal apps and the apps they use at work. And it’s up to us, as the business and IT leaders of future-ready enterprises, to close that gap. Improved efficiency and employee productivity are the biggest benefits of mobility, according to the Dell Global Technology Adoption Index. But realizing these benefits requires understanding the difference between simply “mobilizing” an existing application and transforming a workflow through mobility. It needs to be done with a mobile mindset.
For example, a global telecom infrastructure provider that we worked with wanted to streamline its process for cellular tower maintenance to increase service uptime. But when it started considering the potential of mobility in re-architecting its approach, the provider realized it could take it much further, transforming a critical process by providing technicians with tablets and designing an app that leveraged the full capabilities of the devices. Now technicians can use GPS to reach a site faster, use the camera to record equipment that needs service, and even order parts on the spot with a few clicks. Problems are resolved faster, service uptime has increased, and technician satisfaction and productivity are up.
When we work with clients on developing mobile apps, we take a comprehensive approach, addressing three key aspects of development from the start:
- Define the business case — Begin by understanding the objectives in the context of the organization’s strategy. Think about who the end users are, how they work, what they need to accomplish, and the business results that will define success. To do this, create use cases that include all touchpoints and socialize these with stakeholders across the business and IT.
- Understand the user experience — User involvement up front is critical to ensure adoption and, ultimately, business value. Conduct focus groups and share designs to ensure that users get the ease of use and experience they need to be productive. At Dell, we believe a design-led approach is fundamental to satisfying stakeholders and eliminating wasted time and money spent creating apps few will use.
- Build in security, distribution, and maintenance — These aspects impact the success of the app and must be considered before development begins. Build security directly into the app to make it as easy to use as possible. Create sound policies so users know how to access and use apps, and managers know how to administer them in a secure way. Establish support and maintenance programs to eliminate downtime, increase productivity and help ensure everyone is using the latest version.
Mobility offers great business potential, but we must deliver enterprise apps that reflect a mobile mindset, applying the same intuitive interfaces to apps in the workplace as those we use at home. With a strategic approach to designing mobile enterprise apps, we can transform work for better productivity and business performance.