Enterprise Mobility Successes and Failures
Having spent a lot of the last nine years working on mobile solutions at Sitrion, I’ve had a chance to see a lot of different approaches to mobility. In the early days, if a company said they wanted a mobile solution that meant that they wanted something on BlackBerry. Over the last several years, mobile has evolved tremendously in the enterprise. Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned from our efforts and those of our customers.
Keep it simple… no… really…
This idea is true for any product. But with mobile, I find that users can be even less patient and more demanding. One of the lessons we learned was that there was a group of users who only used one of our mobile apps very infrequently. The Sitrion Social mobile app was designed to have tons of different features all in one monolithic app. Depending on where you were in the app, you would have different choices available that applied to that view. For infrequent users, you need to have simple, visible choices. So think about your users. Can you simplify apps and make them more consistent?
So many apps…
Sometimes people take the viewpoint that keeping things simple means that every use case should have a separate app. I’ve seen two problems with this approach. First, the sheer number of apps can be problem. Before we offered Sitrion ONE, a customer who had our Sitrion Social product built about forty different native apps. But they told us that only two of those apps actually got used on a regular basis. Part of this is just having too many choices. Instead of users struggling to find a function within an app, you get people who are having a hard time remembering which app does what. The other issue is that when forty different apps are each designed and built separately, users have to deal with a different UX in each app. We’ve had customers tell us that one of the biggest values we offer with Sitrion ONE is that we can provide consistency (a single way to do all approvals, for example). So think about how many use case you’re going to support. Is there a way to standardize some of them?
We’re going to get to that just as soon as…
We’re just coming out of “resolution season.” It’s the time of year when people want to improve something, but often they run into obstacles. Getting started in enterprise mobility can be a lot like this. We’ve talked to some companies who have great uses cases, but they can’t seem to get started. It’s true that enterprise mobility involves backend connections, secure access, and a compelling user experience. It’s also true that some companies spend too much time and money on their apps. This study reported that building an app takes between seven months and a year in half of the cases and 20% of those apps cost more than $500K. But it’s now possible to build and deploy apps in a fraction of that time and cost. So look for a clearly valuable use case and look at the options for rapidly building, integrating, and deploying a mobile solution. How will you get going in enterprise mobility if you don’t get started?
We’ve learned a lot working with customers. We’ve seen some great successes, and we’ve seen some things that didn’t work out well. We’ll keep sharing notes on these lessons learned so you can move faster on your mobile-first journey.
Do you have any successes or failures you want to share? Ping me at @bkellner.