Why aren’t the apps we use at work as helpful as the ones we use in our personal lives?

It’s the burning question on many employees’ minds these days—and one that enterprises can’t afford to ignore.

Gone are the days when employees were a captive technology audience. When workers were willing to sit through extensive training just to learn how to use the company software. When they were happy to use whatever apps they were given because there were no other choices.

For today’s consumers, there’s always another choice. Software developers spend long hours inventing new ways to delight users and make their lives easier. With so many apps out there competing for attention, people can afford to pick the best and discard the rest.

But this luxury fails to translate into the professional world, where most employees are expected to be satisfied using complex software that comes with a training manual. It’s no wonder eight in 10 enterprise mobile apps are abandoned after their first use, and 64 percent of employees say it’s because of the poor user experience.

User experience (UX) is something every organization needs to worry about if they want employees to use their apps—and it’s revolutionizing the way enterprise apps are being developed. Three in four execs believe UX and human-centric design matters to their business, and 40 percent of large enterprises say designing a better user experience for employee-facing apps is a priority.

“You want to get to the personal level where lines blur between consumer and enterprise software,” says Joe Korngiebel, senior vice president of user experience at Workday. “That’s just good software.”

A great example of superior UX pushing aside enterprise incumbents is Slack, the instant messaging system that has taken the enterprise world by storm. It’s designed to do one thing really well: help employees communicate and collaborate better. The app’s exceptional user experience has made it the fastest-growing workplace software ever created.

As businesses realize the importance of user experience, they’re designing more and more enterprise tools that look and feel like consumer apps, says enterprise mobility expert Richard Absalom.

“It comes down to providing people with an experience they’re used to, and giving people the right applications to do their jobs.”

To meet employee app expectations, enterprises should focus on what employees really need from their business systems and focus on solving clearly defined problems, with an emphasis on great user experience. Here are four things employees need their enterprise systems to do:

1. Connect employees to all their systems

The average enterprise relies on almost 500 different systems for getting work done, and more than 40 percent of employees need multiple systems just to finish basic daily tasks. However, all that switching back and forth can rob them of up to 40 percent of their productive time and since these systems often involve complicated workflows, it can take 25 percent longer to complete tasks.

Employees dream of being able to access all their critical work information and tasks in one place. They need a single portal that connects them to all the data and workflows from various systems of record so they don’t have to hunt for data, juggle multiple logins, or otherwise disturb their flow.

2. Simplify complex workflows

Business processes are getting more complex—as much as 350 percent more in just the past 15 years—and it’s causing workers to burn out. Nearly 75 percent of employees say their work environment is complex, while seven in 10 organizations admit an urgent need to simplify work.

One of the most helpful things an enterprise app can do for employees is make work simpler. Employees expect their work tools to break complex tasks down into simple steps that can be completed quickly and easily, allowing them to work more effectively and increase their productivity.

3. Monitor and send personalized alerts

Enterprises want their employees to make sound, data-driven decisions. Yet 36 percent of employees and 15 percent of managers say they hardly ever know what’s going on in their organizations. As data overload makes it increasingly difficult to track key information, nine in 10 companies are struggling to get data insights quickly enough.

Monitoring data is a waste of employees’ time. In fact, information searches can take up to 25 percent of an employee’s working hours.  They need a way to surface important information, system updates, or tasks that require action, and proactively alert them with the right information when they need it. Similar to how Facebook alerts users to important activity, such as being tagged in a photo or status update, workers crave the same consumer-like experience to help them filter through the deluge of data and alleviate the grunt work of pulling information manually.

4. Bring information and tasks to wherever workers are

Nine in 10 consumers cycle between different devices throughout the day, switching screens as often as 21 times an hour. More than 40 percent will start a task on one device and finish on a second or even third one.

Employees need their work to follow them seamlessly as they move from device to device and platform to platform. An enterprise app should be available to users everywhere—not just on their mobile device, but also on their desktop, intranet, favorite messenger, and anywhere else they are during the workday.

Sapho Modern Portal was also designed with the idea of doing one thing really well: proactively putting the information and tasks employees need in their hands, no matter where they are or what channel they are using, and allowing them to take immediate action. Slack changed the game by creating a product that delivers easy communication and collaboration in a way that appeals to both consumers and employees. And that’s what Sapho aims to deliver to today’s workers— a consumer-like experience that gives employees seamless access to all their business systems in a single place so the information they need is always at their fingertips.

Interested in learning more about how customers are using Sapho to empower employees?

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Elle Sidell

Elle Sidell is a Digital Marketing Manager at Sapho. She joins from AVG Technologies where she worked on web content for business stakeholders. Her previous experience includes content creation, copywriting, and managing the online presence of several SaaS services.

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