The mobile-first approach seems to have become an enterprise norm, but that doesn’t mean that it should be the only approach you’re using. Providing employees with easy access to information from anywhere is critical for work today and mobility was a strong first step forward ­– rather than the only step to be taken.

We’ve seen an uptick in the number of organizations embracing mobile-first apps and programs to accommodate their employees. According to Citrix, employees use three or more devices every day for work. Additionally, the number of devices managed in the enterprise increased by 72 percent from 2014 to 2015. While many companies are making the leap to mobile (if they haven’t already), it’s important for enterprises not to rely on mobility as their main strategy for innovating their IT models. Designing an app or program for a mobile experience before desktop is not a one size fits all solution. Instead, mobility should act as a guide on how to approach all technology in the workplace.

What we learned from mobile-first

In the past, app developers focused on building desktop apps and mobile was an afterthought – if a thought at all depending on when the app was developed. As a result, as vendors and organizations built out their mobile apps, many were clunky and difficult to use. They included all the same functionality and features of their desktop counterparts – features that only power users of those apps ever used or needed. For example, HR is likely the only department that uses a full HR app, with features like vacation tracking, employee reviews, salary information, and onboarding, multiple times a day. The guy across the hall in marketing doesn’t want to access a bloated HR system with thousands of functions when all he wants to do is submit a vacation request. In fact, a recent Forrester study found that 74% of employees would prefer access to a subset of relevant personalized data rather than have access to the whole set.

But as mobile devices became a place where people wanted access to an app, IT teams had to rethink the way they built apps. They needed to produce simple and functional apps that were intuitive and easy to use. They had to boil down complex legacy apps to just the essentials that employees needed. Mobile-first development taught us simplicity, but that simplicity needs to translate back to every device we use for work, including web browsers and desktop apps. And there is still a long way to go.

Simplicity isn’t dictated by device

The success of mobile-first has shown us that people want apps that require only a few clicks to get to the information they need – whether at work or in their personal lives. Just because we’re using a web browser or a desktop app, doesn’t mean we should have to sacrifice simplicity.

If I’m working on my computer and want to book a dinner reservation, I shouldn’t have to reach for my phone. The OpenTable website should be just as intuitive to use as the mobile app. The ability to book a reservation from my phone is great, but I shouldn’t have to disrupt my workflow to do it. Likewise, if I’m working on my computer and need to submit an expense report with Expensify, I shouldn’t feel the need to switch devices to complete the task faster. We expect this ease of use from consumer platforms, why shouldn’t we expect the same when we are at work?

Simplicity shouldn’t be limited to a single device or channel. Enterprise apps need to act and behave just like mobile-first apps, delivering personalized data and task-specific workflows and information based on the actions workers really need to take to get their jobs done – on any device they are on.

The future of the enterprise

In an increasingly omnichannel workplace, mobile is just one piece of the puzzle. Companies need to create a user-friendly way for employees to do their work from anywhere and across any device – without disrupting workflows. Micro apps create a way for companies to apply the same principles of a mobile-first approach to any legacy system and deliver apps that enable people to be more effective and productive.

Sapho helps alleviate major pain points in corporate workflows by allowing employees to complete everyday tasks with a tap of a finger or a click of a mouse. Micro apps are built on top of existing systems and can be used on any device or channel to ensure a frictionless and personalized user experience.

Ultimately, the workplace of the future isn’t mobile. Instead, the future is enabling work wherever your employees are (even if that is at their desk) and on the device they happen to be using.

Trying to upgrade and modernize your existing systems to keep up with employee expectations? Learn more about how Sapho can help. 



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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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