IT Best Practices

5 Things Enterprise Software Developers Can Learn from Consumer Apps

Much of enterprise software has an unshakeable clunkiness to it. What can software developers do to cast off this impression? In an article for Network World, Mike Nadeau delineates a few practices that businesses can adopt to empower employees through simplified and easy-to-use applications:

  1. A mobile-first approach
  2. An eye toward development culture
  3. Self-service that employees actually see
  4. Personalized user experience
  5. Easier collaboration between business and IT

View Your Employees as Your Loyal Customers

Don’t assume that all your employees are tech-savvy and somehow naturally know how to utilize technology innovations to perform their jobs. Your IT department may understand all the sophisticated digital stuff, but other departments are neither IT experts nor geniuses, so treat them like customers who learn things from the very basic. You should seek to align employees with the customer experience, and create a business app that is as simplified and convenient to use as a mobile customer app.

A good example is the IT team at the University of Southern Florida (USF), who succeeded in developing an app to replace paper-based processes for students. They gathered information from students about their preferences for class assignments first, then worked with the school’s administrators and faculty to develop an app that students would use to input their selections, and finally automated the distribution of that information. With that, students didn’t have to run back and forth to different buildings in order to have some paperwork signed. The app was accessible to students and tested early so USF could figure out the pain points of using the app and work on fixing them.

In developing the app, they also took into account the culture and the diversity of functions of the app. They made sure that the app could be used by a wide variety of students who studied different fields, and had different functions that both undergrads and graduate students could find it helpful. So the key steps here are taking the time to understand the people who will be using apps and their jobs, and simplifying the apps as much as possible.

What will ultimately be the ROI on a streamlined app like this? Mileage will vary, but some examples exist of big wins stemming from such projects:

  • A business services customer experienced a 95 percent adoption rate of an employee self-service / manager self-service (ESS/MSS) app, and saved $25 to $33 per employee per year through employee empowerment and eliminating a significant number of support tickets;
  • A technology customer heavily focused on a mobile analytics app roll-out experienced a 90 percent increase in direct access

You can view the original article here:

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