Internal enterprise mobile apps have become a top tool for boosting employee productivity. Management teams also hope that they’ll improve retention since they’re designed to make it easier to get work done. But while some companies do experience the desired results, many enterprise apps fail because employees never adopt them.
There are specific steps developers can take to ensure that employees enthusiastically use a new app, and we’re exploring those steps in this post.
1. Define the Goals of the App
Too often, apps get developed simply on the basis that competitors have an app. The project gets approved without much thought given to what the app should actually accomplish. For employees to want to use the app, it needs to add value to their lives in some way. Before development begins, you’ll want to define:
- The specific problems that employees face which the app will address
- How the app will solve those problems
- The value to the company
- Your criteria for determining whether the app is successful after launch
- Why existing software or apps won’t meet the needs
2. Seek User Input
Without direct input from the people who will be using the app, you’re relying on guesswork. If your guesses are wrong, you’ll end up wasting significant time and money as you’re forced to go back to the drawing board later on.
Before development begins, observe employees to learn their workflows and what other tools they use that will need to integrate with the app. Talk with them to find out current points of friction and exactly how the problems manifest. Find out how they’ll use the app — in what situations and in which locations.
After you’ve built a prototype or MVP, go back to your employees for another round of feedback. Does the prototype hit the mark? What’s missing? What’s extraneous? How easy is it to use? Ask for specific suggestions on how it could be improved. Usability testing will offer additional insights.
3. Build (or Hire) an Experienced Development Team
An experienced team will have the knowledge and skills to dig into user feedback and translate it into the design of the app. They’ll understand usability best practices. And they’ll have the technical background to ensure that the app integrates seamlessly with your tech stack and functions efficiently without hangups. Experienced teams are made up of several specialists. You’ll need people in these roles who are skilled in each area in order to create an app that fully meets the needs and is enjoyable to use.
4. Create a Plan for Rollout
If you’ve been seeking feedback from employees throughout the process, rollout should be much smoother than it would be otherwise. Employees will be bought in, since the organization listened to their input and prioritized real needs. But you can increase your success with a strategic rollout plan. Think through:
- How will employees download the app?
- Will they need training on the app? If so, how will they access the training?
- What about support? Where should employees go if they have questions?
The easier you make rollout, the higher percentage of adoption you’ll see. Employees don’t want to waste time that they could be spending on essential tasks, so streamline everything from the download to the support process.
5. Welcome Additional Feedback for Later Versions
Even the best-researched apps won’t reach their potential in V1. It’s not until users start experimenting with the app in the real world that you see the full picture. Invite employees to submit feedback, and create a system for organizing feedback so that it can inform V2. In addition to improving the app, you’ll give all users a voice, which will also improve adoption.
It can be tempting to rush through development and rollout because everyone wants a solution. But taking time to define your goals, get feedback, build a strong team, and craft a rollout plan will dramatically improve the success of the app and your adoption rate.
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