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3 ways to boost productivity by perfecting your mobility strategy

Guest post by Scott Koegler

Today's enterprise workforce demands mobility. Unfortunately, many enterprises are falling behind at enabling a mobile workforce. Given the growing population of mobile workers, the pendulum needs to swing quickly to keep up with tech-savvy workers' expectations. Although enterprises are increasingly embracing app development, they are facing tough competition from consumer apps that employees love.

According to an HPE white paper, "Enterprise CIOs mobile-app-strategy.jpgmust begin planning for new systems of engagement—that take advantage of mobile technology—to create a new user experience that is more personalized and targeted to individual users' needs." To create a truly mobile workforce, enterprises need to interact with users to understand their needs. Here are three areas to address to improve productivity for mobile workers and keep them away from competitors.

1. Consistency

Consistency is a key factor in increasing mobility. However with the relatively low availability of mobile enterprise apps, the prominence of productivity apps in general can mean that no two users have the same apps installed on their devices, and, even if they do, they're likely to be using them in different ways. Offering a consistent set of apps means data can be collected and correlated across groups of users. It also means staff can be trained on best practices to drive productivity.

Fortunately, most apps are device-agnostic, so the device, whether it's running iOS, Android, or Windows, doesn't limit use across a community of users. IT leaders need to establish a set of criteria that can be used to evaluate and select the apps that will be chosen and deployed. "The goal," says HPE, "is to improve the time to market of mobile applications by developing and maintaining a single code set that will run on any device that a customer or employee chooses to use. "Developing cross-platform mobile applications, using an iterative and collaborative life cycle approach, enables speed to market and quality across a range of mobile devices."

2. Creativity

As IT implements mobile apps, it should concentrate on the business purpose of each app. Functions users take for granted, such as cameras and GPS, can be put to good use to make things easier and even more enjoyable for the user. Cameras can be used to document events, and even as substitute scanners to record documents; GPS provides real-time location sensing for both employees and customers; and speech-to-text capabilities enable hands-free communications (the recording can be maintained for backup and reference if there are problems with the transcription). Innovative apps encourage users to engage with the app, which results in more interactions and more data collection. According to HPE, "By understanding information on our customer location, profile, preference, sentiment, history, and other factors, we are able to create a more personalized user experience in our mobile applications, and in doing so, increase the number of interactions that lead to revenue opportunities."

3. Credibility

Today's enterprise recruits are well accustomed to using mobile devices and the technology they support, and they are quick to evaluate and judge the mobile capabilities of the enterprises they work for. Enterprises that don't offer a full suite of apps that allow for mobility risk losing top talent and will struggle to attract new recruits.

Enterprise apps need to be contemporary, with the latest releases in terms of user experience and purpose, because they often represent the most frequent interactions employees have with their company. App design is also critical. According to Charles McLellan at ZD Net, "The UX factor is vital for enterprise software: employees who routinely use all manner of consumer apps and services—which live or die by the quality of the user experience—are not going to stand for inferior interfaces just because they happen to be at work."

Users also won't tolerate security lapses. The credibility of your apps hinges on your ability to protect sensitive user data. According to the Mobile Application Security Report 2016, 52.1 percent of applications accessed geolocation data, while 11.5 percent accessed contacts, and 16.3 percent accessed calendar information. To increase adoption and keep users from moving on to competitor apps, enterprises must provide IT with the tools it needs to protect user data, including tools to analyze and test apps and review interactions with third parties.

Enterprises must get ahead of their workforce and produce mobile-focused systems that can increase productivity and deliver on the expectations of their employees. And IT needs to take the lead in developing advanced mobile capabilities that make the enterprise more competitive, with the CIO being responsible for implementing the mobile strategy.

To learn more about boosting productivity with mobility, read the business white paper, "Mobility is the new interaction model: Engage with customers, employees and partners in creative ways." 

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