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Enterprise Mobile Apps: Three keys for a great user experience

Posted on November 12, 2013 by Eric Martin.

Popular enterprise mobility blogger Brian Katz recently posted “CoIT? No, It’s CoUX!” a quick re-examination of how we use the phrase “consumerization of IT.” His point is mainly that it’s about the user, providing them what they need quickly, and making it “disappear” so they can get back to work. Though some may argue that it’s just semantics, he is actually on to something.

Business users don’t currently view mobile apps with any lens into the back end systems and processes that power the app. When you load up the Delta app as a consumer, you just want to check in or get your boarding pass. You don’t think to yourself how impressive the back end integration of all of Delta’s systems is. It’s the consumerization of the mobile user experience that is driving this shift, rather than the consumerization of IT itself.

This is why it’s more important than ever to focus squarely on getting the user experience right so the business user can get their job done as quickly as possible and get back to work. We’re not all robots. Management, engineering, sales, whatever field you’re in – apps don’t motivate teams, come up with great ideas and close deals. People do. Even Google recently admitted so much.

So when you’re thinking about how to create the best possible business app user experience, keep these things in mind:

  1. Make sure to utilize a solution that can unify the functionality of multiple back end systems easily. Break down the silos for users. The advent of mobile technology is exposing what some might consider a complacency with desktop applications for slow performance and inefficient barriers to logging in, such as multiple Web services logins, VPNs, virtualization, etc. Think about the last time you waited 30 seconds for that portal login to complete on your desktop: would you permit the same experience on your mobile device? Probably not.
  2. Keep it fast and to the point. The temptation to embark on lengthy projects to create “sexy” consumer-style apps for business is still there for many organizations. Don’t fall into that trap. Refocus energy and effort on creating apps that truly delight users with improvement of their every day business process. Animation and gamification are fun concepts, but the warehouse floor manager that’s trying to keep the production line moving simply does not care. She’s trying to make sure quality product gets out the door, all the while managing the forces of production, inventory and orders.
  3. Think BYOD friendly. Utilize the devices in your employees’ hands. Make sure you use a creation platform where you can create and manage one app, and let the mobility platform do the hard work of formatting it for each device platform and type. Remove the dependence on coding the sluggish change management process that comes with it. You rarely miss by a mile when developing an app for users, but it’s very common to miss by an inch: make it as easy as possible for your app team to fix up that inch and deploy changes quickly to your users.

If you’re interested in creating apps for specific business use cases, such as manufacturing, sales and healthcare, check out our Events page to see upcoming Catavolt webinars and learn more.

Read the original version of the article on Catavolt blog