Guest column: Put the ‘you’ back in ‘user’

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Bryan Coapstick is director of mobile innovation at HP Enterprise Services, U.S. public sector.

While all mobile devices are good at collecting and disseminating information, the best mobile experience occurs when you factor in the users, their context and the devices they’ve got in their hands. People’s expectations around their mobile experience have never been higher: It is time to put the “you” back in “user.”

That is why, with the growing number of providers in the mobile apps services market, enterprises are finding it more and more difficult to select one to support their mobile applications initiatives rising to the challenge of their users’ expectations.

Enterprise mobile apps are only as good as the business problem they solve; understanding the business problem and the users’ needs are the critical pathways to developing a good enterprise app. People don’t build an app just to build an app. They have real business needs, but, unfortunately, the reality is “nearly 60 percent of employees abandon the corporate mobile apps they are expected to use,” as stated in a recent finding from Mobiquity.

Why are the users so critical?

Users are app savvy: If an app isn’t fast and easy to use, they will abandon it. Anywhere, anytime-type value propositions are interesting, but they really are just the first step. We need to re-imagine the business, service and delivery value propositions to be effective, which often means transforming the business and the processes that surround it. It’s not just about the mobile enterprise; it’s really about a digital transformation.

Mobility isn’t just another IT project.

To create this digital transformation, you will need to draw a clear line between the customer-facing digital products and internal IT software. The demands are different, the skills needed are different and you will need different staff, processes and resources. They are both important, but knowing these differences means that most of your focus must be on your product software.

Furthermore, mobility initiatives often lack coordination, with different teams moving ahead on their own. Uncoordinated strategies not only affect IT, but can also result in poor user experiences.

By being user-centric, a mobility leader will focus on specific tasks that create value for the user. Chances are that only a tiny fraction of a legacy app should be “mobilized.” The user, however, will embrace this small number of tasks when you choose them right. Too often, a traditional IT approach to mobile apps tries to convert entire legacy-encompassing tasks that are not mobile friendly, the result being that the apps are confusing and complex. Worst yet, the idea to mobilize never gets off the ground because moving the entire legacy app to a mobile device becomes a monumental task with impossible hurdles to overcome.

Instead, start with the users and work backward.

To convince your employees you have their interests at heart, don’t try to wrap them around your systems—instead, wrap your systems around them. Don’t make assumptions, but instead work hard to understand what they need and expect. Be willing to adapt to an evolving culture and to their ever-increasing demands. The key is to put them at the center of everything you do.

How can you get there?

A mobility leader can help. A mobility leader is a provider who can accompany you on your journey to becoming a mobile enterprise centered on the user, one offering mobile devices, infrastructure, networks, software and services. This provider will bring you a mobile environment that will improve your workforce productivity and encourage employee engagement. It will offer agnostic platforms and be able to integrate solutions that pull in pieces of both traditional and innovative IT. It will accompany you on your journey through your digital transformation.

For its strengths in these areas, HP has just been ranked as a leader by the IDC MarketScape Mobile Application, Development, Testing, Management, and Infrastructure Services 2014 Vendor Assessment.

About the author

Bryan Coapstick is responsible for driving strategic mobility initiatives and key industry partnerships to enable clients to reach their customers effectively through the mobile channel. His expertise lies with several Fortune 200 companies in both public and private sectors that focus on emerging strategies and technologies. Coapstick demonstrates innovative leadership though public speaking, panel discussions and blogging on the various ways that mobility is changing our lives.

For more information, visit HP.

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Bryan Coapstick, HP, mobile and wireless, mobility, Tech
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