Whilst business apps allow for greater productivity, efficiency and can even affect bottom-line results, when it comes to the adoption of mobile apps in the workplace, many companies are lagging behind. Here’s a closer look at some of the mobile app challenges facing organisations today.
Mobile app opportunities
There’s no question that mobile apps are paving the way for new digital opportunities. According to the Accenture Mobility Research 2015 report, the vast majority of the 1925 senior decision-makers for digital strategy and technologies surveyed believe that apps are the “dominant interface of the future”, providing a crucial window into business data and operations.
Of the decision-makers surveyed, the report states:
- 81 per cent believe mobile apps are key to unlocking vital data from across their business.
- 87 per cent describe mobile apps as necessary to capitalise on the benefits of digital technologies.
- 82 per cent think enterprise mobile apps are an integral part of their organisation.
The report also found the most profitable companies surveyed were far more likely to use mobile apps than their lower-earning peers. Yet despite the many benefits, app adoption in the workplace is “far from widespread”. Even the four most popular types of apps – productivity, customer service, management and operational – are deployed by just over 40 per cent of companies.
The challenges of mobile app adoption
In spite of the overwhelming support for mobile apps, many organisations have yet to jump on board. While there are different factors at play, some of the main challenges facing mobile app adoption include inadequate pre-launch testing, security concerns and poor user interface design.
Without the appropriate testing measures in place, workplace apps are less likely to succeed. For example, only 52 per cent of companies surveyed have a comprehensive pre-launch testing program to ensure their apps work reliably and consistently and provide a positive user experience. This can lead to the development of substandard apps that users are quick to abandon.
Lack of mobile security
An ongoing concern for CIOs everywhere, security issues in app development and management is one of the biggest challenges facing app adoption in the workplace. Currently, only 54 per cent of senior decision-makers say their mobile security solutions are integrated with existing enterprise security systems, leaving nearly half vulnerable to outside threats.
Poor user interface design
Employees expect workplace mobile apps to be well designed and usable. Yet only 56 per cent of senior decision-makers believe they have workplace apps that are easy to use and enhance the user experience. Add to that ongoing issues with crashes and bugs, device incompatibilities and lack of integration with existing software and it’s easy to see why apps in the workplace are not living up to their potential.
Overcoming the challenges
Apps that support clear business objectives while delivering a consistent and reliable user experience should be the goal of every business looking to maximise the benefits of mobile apps in the workplace.
To that end:
- Businesses must work to develop a comprehensive mobile framework that includes all phases of app life-cycle development, including usability testing and the flexibility to update apps based on user feedback and operational needs.
- Organisations must ensure the security of workforce apps and devices. This may involve investing in a mobile device management (MDM) platform, putting in place employee policies and training, and performing regular mobile security audits.
- Mobile apps in the workforce should be designed with end user usability in mind. They should be intuitive, allow for quick data entry and provide simple navigation that complements daily workflows.
Last but not least, employee education is critical to help ensure the success of any workplace app program. With 63 per cent of 1559 business executives saying “the pace of technology change in their workplace is too slow”, according to a study by MIT Sloan Management Review, employees need to understand the benefits of new technology in order get on board and maximise its full potential.
As more businesses turn to technology to gain a competitive edge, the key to success lies in developing workplace apps that are flexible, adaptable and deliver real business value. Those that can do this effectively will see the greatest return on their mobile app investment.
About the author
Kathleen Aoki is a business professional and freelance writer with over 10 years’ experience in the IT industry. As a freelance writer, Kathleen has written for several industry publications and blogs across Australia on the topics of marketing, social media, SEO, mobile technology, and more.