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This post is from the Apperian blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.

Last Updated Oct 29, 2013 — App Management expert

User Experience as a Tool to Maximize Enterprise App Adoption

App Management
enterprise-app-adoptionBusinesses care about getting a positive ROI on their app development projects, however this doesn't happen if their employees never use the tool. To maximize enterprise app adoption, companies must start by carefully thinking about the design and functionality of their enterprise apps and end with the deployment and maintenance. If the app is painful to access and use, employees will reject it, and there goes your budget: right down the drain. Employees love tablets: they can work from anywhere, which is especially important for those with travel-heavy jobs, and increase productivity, if they have the right enterprise apps. But for employees who are used to the deployment efficiency and smooth functionality of consumer apps, going mobile is not as simple as porting your existing desktop enterprise application to a mobile device. The form factor of a tablet or smartphone is simply too small to enable all the functionality that exists in your company’s back-end system. Too much functionality will weigh down the app, frustrate employees, and limit enterprise app adoption. Instead, the strategist must think carefully about the use cases for a given process, and mobilize what tasks people actually need to complete when they are away from their desk: this will drive the optimal feature set. Keep it simple. It sounds like common sense, but many companies have rapidly deployed enterprise mobile apps with a frenzy only to discover that their employees find them useless. Once functionality is defined, the aesthetics, or look and feel of the app must be up to par with what employees see in the consumer world. This is hard to do with the more traditional enterprise desktop applications which have multiple hard columns of data and little to no pizazz. If employees find the app difficult to use or ugly, they will abandon it and find another way to complete the task at hand. There are many enterprise software vendors who are doing enterprise UX design well, both with SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions and mobile apps, such as Zoho (for small and medium business processes), Yammer (for enterprise social networking) and Salesforce (for CRM), to name a few. Many of these have become household names in the enterprise world and can serve as examples. To get started, we can give you with some tips for superior UX design to foster enterprise app adoption:
  1. Get feedback early: don’t use a waterfall process with all the design done at the beginning before a single line of code is written – create prototypes to test with employees. If employees don’t think the app does what it is supposed to in an efficient manner, go back to the drawing board – you haven’t nailed it.
  2. Keep the app workflow-focused, not feature-focused. As we mentioned above, figure out the task that needs to be mobilized and center your app on that. The workflow will drive the features.
  3. Think consumer – that’s your golden standard, not what your enterprise app may have been like in the past.
  4. Get help from experts. Apperian’s Customer Solutions Group can give you the guidance that you need to ensure that you are creating a superior user experience and mobilizing the right processes.
As far as enterprise app adoption is concerned, no one likes to go through a lot of red tape to get the tools they need to do their job -- and customers are used to their consumer world, in which they can access whatever app they want, when they want, from Apple’s App Store or Google Play. IT departments have to find a way to distribute apps to employees seamlessly and easily while still maintaining order and data security. Fortunately, IT departments can set up their own enterprise app store, mimicking the ease of consumer deployment, or can assist in a single-app distribution scenario by distributing apps easily. Both options enable IT to maintain security requirements and to easily make content and other updates to the app without burdening employees. If employees can easily access and use an app that makes their lives easier, enterprise app adoption won’t be a problem, and your ROI will show the results you want. If you’re planning an app development project, think about user adoption now, before it is too late!

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