When It Comes to Employee Adoption of Mobile, Less is More – Part One
“Shall we play a game?”
No really, I’m a big fan of Game Theory, and so are some very bright minds who have to challenge their thinking in order to avoid catastrophic challenges in military, managerial and political scenarios. For the uninitiated, Game Theory basically employs a hypothetical “chess board” of pieces, constraints, options, and counterattacks that your opponents can make in order to allow you as a “player” to test your assumptions and strategies. In theory and application, this is far more efficient and less costly than, ahem, “winging it” in real life.
So now that you’re an arm chair expert in Game Theory, let’s imagine the “enterprise” playing field for a moment. You’re a visionary business leader and you are committed to driving incremental productivity from your organization. You’ve tapped your captains, looked at the research, talked to your consultants and advisory firms, and the results are in: the high value gains are in mobilizing your workforce to take advantage of the latest technological revolution to embrace all of your staff, partners, distributors, vendors, etc. - the full sphere of influence that interacts with your value chain. Your staff uses visionary innovation campaigns to drum up requests for hundreds, if not thousands of “must have” killer app ideas. The whole enchilada: anywhere, anytime, any device. Sounds like a worthy cause, but no small feat, right?
To make this game more approachable, let’s imagine that you now have a have a magic wand, and the normal constraints of limited IT budgets, antiquated tools, and security requirements are miraculously lifted and no longer plaguing your efforts to revolutionize your workforce into the digital era.
Pretty attractive scenario, right? A lot better than what you’re perhaps facing today, no doubt?
So... What would be your move, in this case?
I bet most would instinctively say, “This is easy. If I had unlimited resources, I could throw cost to the wind and just ‘buy my way’ out of the problem. Order a full suite of pricey, leading enterprise mobile tools - each the furthest “top right” position in that analyst report’s chart. I’d hire the best specialists, and design a robust library of hundreds… no, thousands, of mobile apps that could provide mobile access to each and every system my employees rely on and dream up. Where’s the challenge in that? Game on!”
Sounds like “checkmate,” right?
You’d expect to hear casual murmurs of “this game was too easy” from observers, with knowing glances, from the sidelines.
Not quite, friends. I’ve had the unique opportunity to have discussions with some of the most advanced “mobile first” organizations in the world, each with a roaring stable of 400-600 employee mobile apps they have painstakingly developed over the last eight years - starting with HTML4 and moving into the world of native, cross-platform, bells and whistles... Impressive by all standards. These are pioneering, Fortune 500 companies that in all likelihood have more resources than you, have some of the best and brightest minds, and first paved the path that countless thousands of other organizations are now following today.
You might be surprised to learn that they share a common understanding from managing hundreds of apps. This little known wisdom is "less is more."
Let’s play this forward. It’s the next move in the game. You’ve deployed the 500 apps you have to manage for your 10 or so most important personas, about 50 a piece. That alone puts you in the top 1% of all enterprises, according to our research. While you’re patting yourself on the back, your end users are about to play their countermove.
Ready for the return volley?
The first barrage are complaints of inconsistent user experiences across their shiny new apps that each newly minted “Mobile First” employee is now enabled with. That’s 50 new apps, 50 new onboardings they will feel friction against, and 50 new and incongruent user experiences. Adoption is achingly low, you’ve just accidentally increased HR and IT support costs thanks to additional tickets related to the wave of apps you’ve asked employees to self-learn. Unintended consequence is a witty comedian, isn’t it? Just as you get off the phone from the disgruntled and drowning IT HelpDesk staff, your CFO walks into your office to ask you “I thought I gave you everything you need in the form of a blank check, why isn’t anyone actually using all the pricey apps you made us purchase?”
Resolute, you steel your nerves, rolling up your sleeves for the next round of “Enterprise Mobile” chess.
Tune in for part two of my post for the outcome!