At the December Executive Leadership Council (ELC) gathering in Fort Lauderdale, Florida last month, we tackled the subject of mobility, and its growing importance in a world that is trending #BYOD, #ConsumerizationOfIT, and #AppModel (hashtags added for dramatic effect).
Mobile applications as standalone entities are a harder sell for most enterprises. You simply cannot replace the complex, compute-heavy capabilities of many of our enterprise applications on a mobile platform, and yet people go running after every new app that "seems" to do much of what our corporate systems do….until you start digging into the details. Instead of an outright replacement of your corporate systems, mobile platform should be used to *extend* the user experience, enhancing capabilities and helping to grow or extend the sense of community around enterprise applications.
A great example I've used in the past is my company's expense reporting system. At first, I was a bit disappointed at the limited capabilities of its mobile app, which only allows you to create a generic expense line item, or snap a photo of a receipt. You can't even link those two activities together -- you have to log into the corporate system to do that. Fast forward a couple weeks, and the limited functionality made perfect sense: create a new line item so that I don't forget the expense where there is no receipt, or quick capture of a receipt before it becomes lost (or, more likely, illegible after being crumpled in my pocket for a few days). The point is that this vendor through about how their users would actually take advantage of a mobile app to be used in conjunction with their platform, and they focused on the use cases that made the most sense, thus extending their platform and improving the user experience.
In a November 2013 article by Dennis Shaio in Website Magazine entitled "Strategic Integration: Customer Engagement Meets Content," the author outlined a simple 5-point model for extending your website into a community hub. I like his points, but think a slightly modified model is equally applicable to the idea of extending your intranet or other enterprise-wide application:
Content Alignment. Make sure that the content you provide can be easily found and consumed, regardless of the platform. Instead of white paper-length diatribes, condense your content and make it more actionable so that people can find what they need quickly, and then choose for themselves whether they need more in-depth content or data.
Consistent User Experience. This is the key to end user adoption -- ensuring that the mobile experience is an extension of the primary system experience, not an entirely new experience. Navigation and branding should work the same, if possible, so that users can correlate between environments.
Measurement. Metrics are key to learning about any platform, but the added benefit of the mobile experience is that you're measuring a subset of features that may be on your primary platform, allowing you to get much granular in what you track, and what you learn about end user usage. But measurement is useless if you don't use that data to go back and improve the overall platform. Use what you learn in the mobile experience to improve the on premises experience.
Business Integration and Alignment. You should always develop tools and systems with the user experience in mind. One aspect of that strategy is integrating and aligning with existing business processes and workloads. If the user experience is dramatically different than how your employees work today, or if it requires more work just to use these new capabilities, they won't be adopted. It's as simple as that.
Engagement and Gamification. Gamification is about incenting or rewarding end users as a way to encourage desired behavior, and mobility solutions are a great way to get creative about how (and how much) people are using the platform. Not surprisingly, the keys to successful gamification strategies are metrics (you need to track what people are doing, and whether you're getting the desired results) and business alignment (hopefully, the desired result is that people are doing more productive work).
As Shiao points out in his Website Magazine article, " Customer engagement is key to long-term sustainability." That's the real goal of mobility solutions -- to encourage end user engagement, no matter what the platform.#social #Collaboration #gamification #enduser #Adoption #engagement #Motivation #SharePoint