Apple released the first iPhone less than 10 years ago — on June 29, 2007, to be precise. Yet so integral has mobile technology become to our personal and work lives, it feels like we’ve always been in the mobile era.
So how come so many enterprise employees remain dissatisfied with the mobile tools they’re provided at work? A new survey of more than 100 U.S.-based IT leaders by Forrester Research shows that mobile technology — particularly mobile apps — isn’t delivering the payoff workers demand and enterprises need.
For example, one of the main selling points of mobile applications is that they are supposed to empower workers and make them more productive by enabling them to access the information and services they need to do their jobs. But 62% of respondents said “they require the help of others to access data,” while 57% said “they rely on another person to glean insights from data,” Forrester said.
Already those are drags on productivity. There are more:
- Nearly four in 10 (38%) said employees struggle to access data and apps inside and outside the office
- 25% said employees circumvent policies and dig through reports to access needed data
- More than three-quarters (76%) said having to work with multiple mobile apps causes employees to take too long to complete tasks
Shouldn’t we be way past these time-wasting problems? Hasn’t enterprise mobility matured? Clearly not everywhere, and more often than not that’s because enterprises failed to adopt a mobile-first and user-first mindset. Building or purchasing tools that mobile employees find difficult to use or simply don’t want to use is a waste of time, money, and resources. Just look at the high percentage of employees in the Forrester survey who can’t get their work done efficiently or have to go around rules to do so.
Forrester’s eminently sensible advice is to “transform application environments by listening to employees.” More specifically, Forrester recommends enterprises:
Simplify apps. Go through their entire app portfolio to determine how employees access, leverage, and take action on information. Determine whether apps are easy to access and help employees complete tasks. The simpler the apps, the better.
Unify apps. Streamline how employees receive information and action items from multiple apps to better support and accelerate decision-making.
Personalize apps. Provide employees with consumer-like apps that are easy to use, available from any device and any location, and deliver personalized action items.
Always easier said than done, but the alternative is a mobile apps initiative that 1) fails to deliver the anticipated return on investment, 2) frustrates employees who may leave for greener tech pastures, and 3) causes you to fall behind competitors that have fully embraced a mobile- and user-first mentality.