Cut Through Complexity With Enterprise Mobile Apps

Susan Walker

Most business leaders seem to understand the importance of mobile technology in their company’s future. In fact, 93% of respondents to a survey by Enterprise Mobility Exchange say their company plans to increase investments in mobile over the next five years, and 31% believe mobile apps will be the primary interface of the future.

Knowing this, you might think companies would be doing everything necessary to produce great enterprise mobile apps. However, that’s not necessarily the case. Only 48% of companies have an established mobile strategy, according to Lopez Research.

What’s holding these companies back when it comes to developing enterprise mobile apps? According to the report “Cracking The Complexities In Enterprise App Development,” there are a few roadblocks, and topping the list is complexity.

Complexity leads to app abandonment

Despite the potential benefits of enterprise mobile apps to transform the work experience, many mobile apps are abandoned if they are too complex or cumbersome to use. The report lists the following reasons why enterprise apps are abandoned:

  • Too hard or confusing to use (26%)
  • Lack the necessary functionality (22%)
  • Back-end data is not properly accessible (16%)
  • Not available on the right devices (13%)
  • Missing native performance or native look and feel (11%)

The bottom line: if enterprise apps are too complex, people don’t want to use them.

Cut through the complexity

Recent developments and tech agreements like the Apple and SAP partnership are making it a lot easier for companies to create native enterprise apps that cut complexity and turnaround time for both developers and end users. Let’s look at the points above in more detail to see how native enterprise apps can address these issues.

  • Reduce confusion: Many businesses try to include everything in a mobile app that they develop from scratch. That just creates a complex, monolithic app that people are unfamiliar with and reluctant to use. It doesn’t have to be so complex. Each time you build an app, you shouldn’t have to write all of the code from scratch. That requires the work of technically trained designers and developers every time, which is economically unfeasible, and also doesn’t take into account the preferences of the end user. A different solution is to build a library in the cloud where design patterns and snippets of code can be shared. Sound like a good idea? It’s already available thanks to some recent tech agreements. With these new partnerships, native mobile apps can easily be created using standardized “floorplans” that save time for the developer and are more intuitive for the end user. Non-IT developers and users can apply these prewritten code snippets or floorplans to customize apps to suit their needs. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel – and users can design apps the way they want. Everybody wins.
  • Provide the right functionality and back-end access: Functionality should be addressed in a number of ways. First and foremost, it should start with understanding the user experience. In the Enterprise Mobility Exchange report, 30% of IT executives say one of the biggest challenges is identifying or verifying end-user needs, but it is crucial if you want a successful enterprise app with good adoption rates. If you don’t understand how the app can benefit the user, then how can you make sure the app has the right functionality to meet the users’ needs? Having users involved in the design and development of an app is the only way you can be sure it will include suitable and contextual functionality. Choosing appropriate functionality for an app is key to its success. One of the greatest benefits of native mobile apps is the ability to combine the functionality of the back-end systems (such as historical data and IoT sensor data) with the functionality of the device (such as GPS, ID features, or image capture). Getting the right combination of these features is vital to a positive user experience.
  • Deliver the best performance, look, and feel on the right device: A successful enterprise mobile app does not mean having all of your legacy systems accessible on a smartphone. It means having the right functionality, access, and processes easily available to users in an intuitive way that makes their work experience quicker, easier, and simply better. In other words, blending proper performance with the right look and feel on the most appropriate device. Think about it: as consumers, people are used to having intuitive mobile apps on an easy-to-use device, so having a similar user experience at work would make their job a lot easier. The best way to achieve this is to create an intuitive enterprise app on a familiar device like an iPhone or iPad.

One example of this is an enterprise mobile app developed for MAPAL, a precision tool supplier that implemented a native iOS mobile app to help identify the right precision tool out of thousands in use. The app gives users an unprecedented and unobstructed view of every single tool, which benefits employees, partners, and customers in multiple ways. The mobile app has completely changed the overall work experience by creating a more cost-effective purchasing process and optimizing stock levels. This is just one example that shows how the right enterprise mobile app can have far-reaching effects on your customers and your business ecosystem.

When in doubt, simplify (you’ll get great results)

There is a reason why so many business leaders see mobile as the primary interface of the future. By utilizing mobile technologies, companies can transform the work experience by reducing complexity and turnaround time for developers and end users.

Within the workplace, enterprise mobility can help enhance productivity, streamline processes, create quicker and better workflows, and enable new ways of cooperating and collaborating with key partners. Mobile apps can also give customers a better user experience – as long as the solution is seamless and easy.

For all of this to happen, though, don’t try to create an app that solves every issue under the sun – because it won’t. In fact, chances are that it will be so complex it will turn users away.

Instead, focus on creating enterprise apps that are relevant to your business today. Focus on a solution to one problem rather than every problem, and give users the freedom to personalize the product that they need. Now’s the time to cut through complexity and transform your work experience with an enterprise mobile app.

Read the full report on Cracking The Complexities In Enterprise App Development.

Learn more about mobile innovation with the Apple and SAP partnership.

Find out why context matters for enterprise mobility.

Discover how to bring the customer experience into the enterprise.

For an in-depth look at how the digital era is affecting business, download the SAP eBook, The Digital Economy: Reinventing the Business World.

To learn more about the driving forces behind digital transformation download the SAP eBook, Digital Disruption: How Digital Technology is Transforming Our World.


Susan Walker

About Susan Walker

Susan Walker leads SAP’s Global Strategic Technology and Global Strategic Services Partner Marketing organization. She is responsible for SAP’s alliance marketing vision, strategy and execution across the company, with a strong focus on leveraging and extending leading-edge innovation to enable customers to transform their businesses.