Enterprises Can Learn from Consumer Mobile Use

By treating employees as electronics consumers, enterprises can boost productivity and job satisfaction.

The sheer scale of the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a reminder of just how much people love to consume all things high tech. This year’s show features refrigerators with large displays that can control a smart home, a slick new electric car from Fisker and a host of voice-controlled gadgets. But it’s not just consumer electronics companies and their customers who should be paying attention to news emerging from the show floor.

The boundary between consumer tech and enterprise tech has never been less clear. New consumer-focused products will inevitably prove relevant to the way enterprises use mobile tech internally, to optimize productivity and efficiency. So, today’s consumer innovations are tomorrow’s enterprise efficiency opportunities and—when it comes to adoption of mobile tech—enterprises need to think of their employees as consumers.

The Consumerization of Innovation

Among mobile users, the line between personal use and enterprise use is often blurred. Among the hot topics for CES 2018 are artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. These are two highly advanced and very complex technologies that many enterprises are hoping to leverage. But they are also technologies that are already arriving in the consumer sector—from smart cars to chatbots.

This blurring of lines is indicative of how mobile and digital technology generally have driven a kind of consumerization of high tech that has become visible over the last decade or so. In the past, many major technological innovations came from governments and the military or developed to meet the organizational needs of large enterprises—before trickling down to the consumer sector, for everyday use.

In the age of the iPhone, more innovations (especially related to IT) arrive in the form of consumer products, which then make their way into the enterprise. In practice, this has manifested itself in the phenomenon of “bring your own device” or BYOD. That has created some security concerns for enterprises but it has also presented significant opportunities for cost-effectively maximizing productivity and employee satisfaction.

Consuming Enterprise Apps

People love the efficiency gains and user experience that mobile apps give them in their personal lives and enterprises have much to gain from facilitating similar benefits in the workplace. Makers of consumer-focused apps know that providing an optimal user experience is paramount—and organizations working on enterprise use cases need to take this knowledge on board.

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Enterprise app users expect the same level of user experience that they get from consumer apps. And they are extremely demanding. A 2015 study from Zogby Analytics, in association with CA, found that if consumers’ needs aren’t met by an application within six seconds, they will abandon it—forever, in some cases. In May 2017, mobile marketing company Localytics reported that 24% of users will abandon an app after just a single use.

This has obvious implications for enterprise adoption. It’s one thing to provide employees with apps designed to optimize productivity but it’s quite another to help them get real value out of those apps. Enterprises must work on the assumption that their internal users will demand a top-level, consumer-grade user experience—in terms of interface, functionality and performance—from the apps they use at work.

Sam Macklin
By Sam Macklin | January 10, 2018

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