Mobile and enterprise productivity
In the past, improving personal productivity involved attending courses, reading books and practicing a task over and over again until you could change your behaviour. For some people this worked, but for most there was no change in behaviour since it required on-going practice. Enterprise productivity initiatives through IT tend to perform even worse. Over the past 20 years businesses have been deploying productivity applications and services that are generally poorly designed, boring, difficult to use and, unfortunately, don’t deliver any measurable improvements.
However, this is rapidly changing with the growing presence of smartphone and tablet apps in enterprise. One of the greatest success factors behind iPhone and iPad (and most Apple products) is that the hardware and software is beautiful and easy to use. Thanks to Apple’s slick user interface (UI) and strict quality assurance requirements both consumer and enterprise apps have vastly improved and become more fun to use.
Don’t reinvent the wheel or spend months on RFPs if there are tools and services that can fulfil your needs out-of-the-box. There are over 900,000 apps in both Apple’s Appstore and Google Play; Apple alone offers 62,659 business apps.
A few examples of single function apps that can be implemented today are business card scanners, photos of white boards with notes, video recordings, cloud storage and document repository and expense reports.
Newer apps and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tools are reaping the benefit of high adoption and usage by focusing on ease of use, and being good to look at. Your employees are used to playing with great looking consumer apps on their smartphone or tablet, so why should business apps be any different?
With employees bringing their own devices to work and filling apps with corporate content it’s more difficult to impose strict rules on the use of third party services in the offices. 73 per cent of employees say they access sensitive corporate data on their smartphones. This being said, our recommendation is to agree on a set of apps/tools to be used, create a place where all approved and recommended tools can be found, and clearly communicate usage and password policies. Ensure that it can be updated over time, and provide rules and guidelines to ensure that all data storage is consolidated to a few locations.
It is also important to have an open forum and feedback channel where employees can suggest new tools and best practices. This will make your employees feel involved, responsible and engaged – also they will be much more likely to adopt and use the chosen apps and tools.
Measuring productivity increases and ROI is always difficult. One way to tackle measurement is to provide a simple business template for new tools that are being tested and measure the actual results versus the business case on a small scale. The critical points the need to be reviewed when measuring rewards are cost savings and incremental revenue.
The challenge of working with various single service apps and tools in isolation is that it becomes difficult to achieve economies of scale, and that the organisation of information can become fragmented. When an employee leaves or changes role no one will be sure of what to do, and data may not be as secure.
Over time you might want to evaluate how the tools can be consolidated into one simpler experience to make an even bigger impact for the organization. There are several great solutions such as Meetr, MobileWorxs and Syclo with flexible functionality that allow you to get started quickly, with minimum integration including work flows, scheduling, document repository, data capture, internal communication and more.
In many cases there is not one readymade product that will fit your needs, so you may need to build or adapt your own solution. If that is the case you can still achieve quick wins by choosing a solution that has the flexibility plug-in with third party services via APIs. Alternatively, you can find an external supplier with experience of planning, developing, and deploying mobile enterprise solutions to consolidate the services and great user experience you need into one customised enterprise app.
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