The realities of enterprise mobile app abandonment

It’s no secret that organizations spend billions of dollars on enterprise software that most employees never actually use – or use very rarely. Now, companies are trying to enable mobile access to this same software using their vendors’ mobile app or by developing a mobile-enabled version, but employees are still protesting. The truth is 80 percent of mobile enterprise apps are abandoned after their first use and the reasons are predictable. Here are four reasons why employees hate using enterprise mobile apps. 

  1. Complicated setup and logins. Setting up an enterprise app on a phone is complicated. It generally involves downloading the app, connecting to the company server, which can require contacting a system administrator for the server URL, and other time consuming tasks. These apps also require logins at each use. Multiply this by the number of enterprise mobile apps that are demanded in the enterprise – each having their own unique login – and you have a problem. Just think about all of the helpdesk calls that will come in as employees confuse their passwords between systems.
  2. Confusing user interfaces. Does the common belief that “if I build it, they will come” hold true for enterprise mobile apps? Not if the new mobile apps look, feel, and act the same as the clunky desktop applications workers avoided using in the first place. The beauty of consumer mobile apps is that they are simple and eliminate unnecessary features. Take commerce for example. Retail apps offer intuitive, user-friendly interfaces so people can browse effectively and complete the transaction, all while having an enjoyable shopping experience. Why should enterprise apps be any different? Employees simply won’t use enterprise apps that look and feel archaic and are difficult to maneuver – they want to find the information they need and complete their task.
  3. Feature bloat. A common problem for app developers is building too many features that users don’t need. For mobile apps, people have come to appreciate that their apps do a single task, and do it extremely well. Not only do added features make an app hard to navigate, they can also make the app slow, complex, and unreliable, making workers even less likely to use it. Developers add in features thinking it will make their app stand out above the rest, but the reality is that adding bells and whistles makes an app more difficult to use – especially in the mobile world.
  4. Siloed data sources. Accessing data from multiple systems is time consuming – when on a mobile device, this data access becomes near impossible. For many mobile users, they must open multiple apps to get the status of a project they are working on. But unfortunately, unlike when on a laptop with a bigger screen and the ability to look at data from different systems side by side, the mobile device makes it impossible to look at data on a single screen. For these users, their enterprise mobile apps are making life more difficult than simply using the laptop version.

The rise in mobility has proven that people love getting information and completing tasks on their mobile devices – in 2014, mobile apps had already overtaken PC apps to access the internet. However, enterprise apps have fallen behind in usability. Enterprise app developers must focus on building apps that are simple, easy to navigate, and actionable – just like consumer apps.

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Natalie Lambert is the Vice President of Marketing at Sapho. She joins from Citrix where she held multiple product marketing leadership positions. Before that, Natalie was a principal analyst at Forrester Research where she was the leading expert on end user computing.

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