How to make employees use my enterprise mobile app?

Employees don’t take your mobile app seriously. What to do?

We already explored main reasons why enterprise apps fail. Mostly, because there is no pressure, no emotion and no rationale for employees to use the app. Often, there is also no sufficient IT support for mobile users.

This begs an important question: Does that mean you cannot make a simple, working app for your enterprise? Should you give up on boosting the productivity of employees working away from their office desk?

That depends. It’s true: you can no longer force employees to use your app. But you CAN make them love it.

If that sounds too difficult, read on.

Let’s think: Who has done something like this before? Remember who designed all the addictive consumer apps that kill your employees’ productivity? Candy Crush, Angry Birds, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram. These were all built by startup teams. Teams that grew silly value propositions into billion-dollar apps. All because users loved them.

Can you do that with your enterprise app? Of course. Don’t worry, your enterprise doesn’t have to become a startup. Just learn how they think and apply it to your project.

Battleplan: Move in short iterations

Enterprises love Agile Development for a reason. It delivers software in short iterations and constantly shows progress towards ROI.

Startups love Agile Development for a different reason. They first build a minimum viable app and test it on users. If users don’t love it, they build another app, with a new value hypothesis. Yes, it is a failure, but is is small, quick and cheap. If users do love it, they keep adding features and testing again, until the app is ready. Then they celebrate product-market fit and scale.

Can you do this? Yes, we all hate failure. But with apps, nobody knows what will work. Every company is different. If you test and iterate with users, you fail small. After a few trials, you will likely figure it out and scale confidently. After all, you are not in a new billion-dollar market full of competing apps. It is your own company. But if you don’t test and iterate with users and shoot for a 6-month project with 5 developers, you postpone the inevitable: one day you will have to release the app to users. Nothing worse than to spend all that budget and discover that nobody cares.

Strategy: Start with User Journey Mapping

Every startup app is built around a User Persona – someone with real pains, needs and emotions. That’s why consumer apps are so addictive: every tap is about YOU. Don’t build your enterprise app around business processes. Don’t start with who should do what, when and how efficiently.

Build your app around the doers, linking every processes to them. Efficiency will follow.

Try User Journey Mapping.This activity lets you map out and see all key elements in one place. You can now see user’s processes, feelings and needs along with business processes, people, things and applications. This lets you build the app around user needs, without missing anything important.

After the exercise, you will have clear value hypotheses. Each resolves a particular user’s need or emotion and leads to a new user’s attitude or behavior. Better attitudes and behaviors translate into higher employee productivity.Validate your value hypotheses with users, then build your app around the results. Employees will love your app and make your company more money.

See Customer Journey Mapping materials by Oracle here:

Tactics: Continue with UI Design and the right technical capabilities

Now deliver your “minimum viable app.” Make sure it meets basic usability criteria:
  • Pleasant. Your app looks clean and beautiful. The flow between screens is clear and natural. Navigations and gesture support are native to each mobile OS.
  • Fast. Your user only opens the app for 3-7 min. Do not make him look at “loading” screen for 30 seconds. Let him fetch the data instantly. Ideally, in less than a second.
  • Offline. Can your user tell if he is online or offline? He shouldn’t. All features must be available in both modes. You only make money if they can do their job regardless of internet signal.
  • Right data, right access. Don’t think you are mobilizing the backend system. You are mobilizing an employee. What other systems’ data do they need to read, create and update? Be specific.

It takes a village to make an app. Don’t stop at business experts, analysts and app developers. Get UI designers and systems’ integration experts on board.

Afterparty: User Support

Release party is over: time to roll out the app.

First steps: Have a plan. Do a gradual rollout, in at least 3 groups. Decide: how will I divide users into groups? Who will be my key contact person in each of them? What is the best way to roll out the app? Schedule and run well-prepared demo and training sessions. No, not to force everyone to use the app. Run them to collect early feedback and improve.

Streamline the onboarding process. Make sure your users know the onboarding process. Make sure you know the onboarding status of each user. How does the user get activated as a “mobile app user” in your backend systems? Do they have the right hardware? How do they get the mobile app and install it? Have they started using the app? Have they completed some of their tasks in it? Are they logging into the app regularly?

Talk to your users and key contact persons daily. Find out what they love and what they hate about the app. Does it help them get their jobs done? Which features should you add or drop? Top this up with hard data from the mobile app performance analytics. What is the number of active users? How often and how long do they interact with the app? How fast does the data load? How often does the app crash? Use this information to decide what comes with the next release.

Keep user support staff in the loop.They really want to help your users. But without the right tools and access to relevant data they cannot investigate each user’s service requests. Share the app performance data with your first line of support.
Sounds good, but need more details? Use this guide as a practical tool for building the right app in the right way.

What’s inside:
  • 5-min test: What are your chances to succeed?
  • 8 worksheets: How to make the app your users will love?
  • 5-min list: How to stay ahead of the game?

You can build a great enterprise mobile app. Start here:

Get our step-by-step Mobile Guide
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