November 9th, 2018

[Part 6] 2018’s Human-Centric Mobile Trends: Apps replacing office tools

Digital transformation and adapting organizations for a digital world is said to be the buzz of the decade. However, when it comes to technology in the office these trends are slow to catch on. In the beginning, sales people and similar road warriors were considered early adopters of today’s mobile technology within the office, i.e. e-mail, calendar, file sharing and accessing CRM data. But beyond these tools, enterprises have been slow to provide the organizational stakeholders with the tools that will allow them to efficiently work remotely.

Frankly, from an organizational standpoint there was more focus on locking down mobile devices and making them secure than there was when it came to providing access to data that would make them insecure to begin with. Technology is continuously evolving and changing the way things are done, however, there’s five key reasons apps have been unable to successfully enhance productivity in the workplace: 

  • A poor mobile experience provided by SAP, Microsoft (beyond e-mail), IBM and Oracle
  • The lack of focus, resources and budget in order to mobilize the enterprise systems
  • Increased complexity of integration and authentication of legacy systems
  • Emphasis on technology rather than user needs
  • One-off enterprise app initiatives that fail to get maintained by the organization

This might seem strange considering the great success of applications such as Box, Dropbox, Google Apps and Office 365, but these examples are the exceptions, not the rule.

The Shift to a Modern Workplace

Over the last year, we’ve begun to see a shift in the main drivers influencing application adoption. That being the influence from employees, the discussion of cost savings vs. maintaining legacy desktop systems and the need for more efficient tools in order to improve productivity. Examples of these drivers within top organizations include: 

  • A major waste management company replacing desktop tools with mobile apps for field staff as a way reduce time spent on admin tasks.
  • The leading wind power provider replacing 20+ laptop-based applications with mobile apps.
  • A top UK bank enabling bank staff access to customer data, mortgage services and insurance quotes while visiting customers on-site
  • An international cement company creating entirely new tools for the drivers and sales people to access logistics and customer information in real-time.

In most situations, organizations are simply replacing old legacy desktop tools with a new interface for mobile. In the examples above, all applications were custom developed with native smartphone apps and low code tools. The big upside is that the mobile user experience is almost always simpler, faster and more appealing to the employees. In the long run, this will hopefully mean that the old platforms can be shut down, resulting in cost savings and enhanced user experience. Another key trend is a renewed focus brought on by the major software houses in mobile tools. This includes the standard tools such as the Salesforce and Sharepoint apps.

What should enterprises do?

For many businesses, now is a great time to assess the mobile readiness of the platforms and tools that power your business. To fully understand how technology can reshape the workforce beyond just emails, the key is to look at every area of the organization including HR, CRM, Sales, ERP, Fieldworkers, Transportation, Intranet and more to see where the existing tools can use a revamp. If you don’t see an improvement in workplace productivity in 2018, you’re doing something wrong.

As you may recall, throughout the course of the year, we’ve discussed the 6 critical trends that CxOs must keep top of mind in order to achieve success in 2018. Take a look at the first five trends impacting business in 2018: Human First, AIConversational Interfaces, Low Code vs. No Code and Data Security and Privacy.

Magnus Jern
Chief Innovation Officer 

Tags: app development apps Business

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