Recently I got a call from one of my friends. He was stressed and shared his grief about his company’s rush to ‘mobile first’ strategy. His company had recently developed a number of mobile apps in order to unleash the enterprise web functionalities to their employees carrying smartphones.

A noble aim, indeed. But if you don’t have a clear strategy, then it would feel like Tyrian Lannister unleashing the dragons in the Game of Thrones. Although it worked well for Tyrian; but one burst of fire could roast you to the bones, or the disjointed strategy could keep you at work over weekends.

After talking to him, I thought to pen down my thoughts. I think the mobile strategy is an evolving one. The users demand that the enterprises move away from the conventional ideas and GO BOLD! Because the consumer mobile apps have already taken users on such expectations ride that they won’t tolerate poor user experience for more than ten seconds.

So, let’s see our twist to take the enterprise mobile strategy in the realm of happy users and climbing user adoption.

In the first part let’s focus on user centric points:
Your Brand on mobile

Clearly outline how and to what degree you want mobile apps to be brand compliant. One way of doing it is to provide some standards around user interface, gestures, menus, navigation etc. while still keeping it flexible so some unique features can emerge.

Point: Some uniformity between enterprise wide mobile apps would go a long way to boost productivity
User Experience (UX)

This is the crux of the matter. In consumer world data suggests that users only allow ten seconds for the new app to make a positive impression. Of course, in the enterprise world, users would be more forgiving but a bad UX will be a heavy drag on user adoption.

So what constitutes user experience?

Good news is – everything.

And bad news is – everything

From the point of install to support everything can constitute as user experience. This gives you many opportunities to improve it.

Point: Mobile app analytics tool is your friend
Mobile UI

Ease of use is the king. The latest and the greatest technology framework doesn’t matter if users don’t find the User Interface (UI) intuitive. Poorly designed apps would face an uphill climb when it comes to user adoption. Productivity will suffer – you’ve been warned.

Point: Allocate separate budget for testing and usability studies
Native Apps vs. Mobile Web Apps

Before one decides the type of apps your enterprise should be building, make a note that mobile apps need higher level of support. Going full native sounds good on principle and they do certainly offer benefits in some domains like gaming, health, wearables etc. but they do come with much high price tag and also have to be compiled for each platform and then installed on devices. With each change you make, installed app on user device need to be updated. If you want sacrifice a couple of features and buy ease of managing the mobile apps, the Mobile Web App is a choice with following:

No local data – remember the data security issue
Lower price tag
Easy apps and user management

Point: Take a good look at Mobile Web App pros and cons.
All users are same (maybe not)

Although all users are same in the eyes of the enterprise, they really aren’t same. Why? Because users have differently capable networks. (you liked that?) Some users could be on fiber optics and some could be living in the tyranny of throttled network.

Point: If you’re multinational enterprise, make sure to design for poor or spotty network

More in the part two…

Why divide the article in two parts you may ask?

If I don’t divide into parts, the person who’s reading on a mobile device would have to scroll a lot and if you remember the point above: Ease of use is the king.

Read Part 2 here.

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