Ciara O’Keeffe, our VP of Product and Customers Delivery and internal comms expert, is presenting the ‘Five Steps to App Success’ webinar in conjunction with Newsweaver. The webinar is taking place on the 27th April, 11am EDT/ 4pm BST and will guide you through the steps required to achieve success in using apps within internal communications. Click here to sign up.
Before taking you through the App Success journey, Ciara has provided her insights into the consumerisation of enterprise apps and why apps are becoming a popular tool of choice for internal communications departments.
The consumerisation of enterprise apps
A revolution isn’t only happening in terms of mobile communications but there’s also one happening in enterprise technology. The quality of emerging technology being introduced into the enterprise is more akin to consumer technology standards. Apps are leading the charge.
What do I mean by consumerisation of enterprise apps? There are two aspects to the explanation – using non-business apps in the enterprise, for example, individuals using the note taking app Evernote, to meet both personal and work needs. The other meaning of ‘consumerisation of enterprise apps’ is the move towards developing apps for the enterprise that employees actually want to use. They have the same engaging user experience as consumer apps and they challenge the perception of enterprise tools being boring, second-rate to consumer, something employees dread using and something lacking good user experience (UX) and user interface (UI).
There’s a common misconception that in order to have a secure, business-friendly, IT-friendly tool, it must be plain and hard to use – they’re the trade-offs for enterprise. This isn’t true. The new generation of developers, who are focusing on apps, are challenging this norm. Think visual, gamified, simple, clean, engaging, cool, and most importantly they have the wow factor. When you show them to your employees they will ask, “Really, I can have this?”
Why apps are gaining popularity in IC and why they’re different to ‘traditional’ channels
Considering all of the above, it’s clear that there are ready opportunities for apps in internal communications. There are a number of companies already using apps, but for limited campaigns and events. The reason for this is that it’s easier to get these signed off by the relevant departments such as IT, security and legal. The problem with using apps for transient projects and campaigns is that employees start to treat them as such, transient. When you try to launch a more long-term app, employees may have already reached their ‘app ceiling’ and imagine the app will just go away, if ignored.
However, if planned well, apps can add enormous and long-term value to an enterprise. For example, Intel found that staff members freed up nearly an hour a day thanks to mobile efficiencies (Deploying Tablets Safely in Manufacturing to Boost Productivity. IT@ Intel. May 2013), which if spread throughout the entire enterprise would greatly reduce the cost of doing business.
An obvious focus point with apps, campaigns and enterprise would be in the areas of HR and Internal Comms. Both functions have to manage numerous events, campaigns and on-going employee engagement throughout the year. Finding one or a small number of apps to use internally, which will flex to accommodate all requirements throughout the year would be a better way to encourage employee adoption, engagement and participation.
How do apps compare to more traditional channels, such as the intranet, an enterprise social network, magazine, etc.?
- Apps are easy to launch
- Most apps don’t require training, they come with a well thought-through user-on boarding flow; basically a very light tutorial to get the user started.
- If you buy an app off the shelf, i.e. pre-built rather than building it yourself, then they’re far cheaper.
- The best thing about an app is that they’re easy to access and always with you, as you have to admit; your phone is always with you.
According to the Meeker Internet Trends Report, smartphone users reach for their phone 150 times a day on average. The challenge then is to make the enterprise apps as appealing as the employee’s chosen apps, so they access it and engage with it during, even a quarter of those 150 touch-points.