Citing Poor Usability, Only 12% Of Employees Use Enterprise Apps
Mobile Apps

Citing Poor Usability, Only 12% Of Employees Use Enterprise Apps

David Bolton • February 20, 2017

Employee-facing apps are not living up to people’s expectations.

Companies that don’t provide people with a delightful enterprise app experience run the risk of employee apathy.

A report by digital design and development studio ArcTouch said that only one in eight U.S. office workers will use enterprise mobile apps provided by their employer. According to ArcTouch’s “Functional But Unfriendly: A Study of Enterprise Mobile App User Experience” report, most people find enterprise apps to be a burden in their working lives.

Because, you know, nobody actually likes to fill out their expenses.

Only 12% of workers actually use an enterprise mobile app. That being said, ArcTouch said that 85% of people think that their most-used app saves them time. Around 83% of people said that the app makes them more productive, with 61% scoring that app high for usefulness.

On the flip side, 70% of people said that their most-used enterprise mobile app was not intuitive. Only 13% said enterprise apps are elegant. The report said that 34% do not look forward to using an app, thanks mainly to poor design and shoddy user experience.

According to ArcTouch’s chief experience officer Adam Fingerman, companies want their employees to have the same amount of enthusiasm for enterprise apps as they do for consumer apps. The problem is that customer expectations have been inflated by user experience in popular apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Uber, which means that enterprise apps are playing catch-up from the start.

“The will is there at the executive level but it has become easier than ever to build an app,” said Fingerman. “There are platforms and tools that make enterprise app development a question of cranking them out in an app-factory style. The good news is that this gives IT more time to work on other projects, the bad news is that it is easy to get a bad app out the door.”

Enterprise Apps Fail To Engender Delight

ArcTouch asked office workers to rate both off-the-shelf enterprise apps and custom-built or internal apps. The sample size was small—out of 4,000 people screened for the survey, only 487 answered all 20 questions provided.

The primary focus was to determine why enterprise apps are not penetrating the workplace in a way that matches the demand for consumer apps. Only 12% of people used an enterprise mobile app at least once a week, although those that did had more than one installed on a smartphone or tablet. Over 50% of regular enterprise mobile app users had three or more installed.

It is worth noting that almost any app that is used as part of a job can be considered an enterprise app. Apps such as Trello, Slack or even Facebook for Work are employee-facing. Do we consider Microsoft Office apps or Gmail enterprise apps? Companies integrate productivity tools from Google and Microsoft as standard in their working practices that allow employees to work effectively on a daily basis.

The difference is that these well established tools provide the right balance of utility and delight. An enterprise app has to be useful and solve a business need. All apps should encourage the consumer to return to the app, a scenario that enterprise mobile apps can fail to provide.

arctouch enterprise >Source: ArcTouch, “Functional But Unfriendly: A Study of Enterprise Mobile App User Experience”

ArcTouch said that the expectations of an app’s performance often don’t align with reality.

“Unfortunately, enterprise mobile apps still have significant ground to make up when it comes to user experience,” the report said. “A significant gap between expectations and reality persists for key aspects of app performance today. The factors that most commonly drive desire to use apps are the ones that rank the lowest when it comes to performance.”

Usefulness, functionality and stability were cited as prime reasons to use an enterprise mobile app but both custom and off-the-shelf apps fell below employee expectations in these regards. What is even more of a concern is that both off-the-shelf and custom-built apps score poorly when it comes to user experience.

“You might be told that you have to use this app, but employers want people to love it … to become evangelists and be excited to use it,” said Fingerman. “If the app doesn’t get used, the return on investment will reach nothing if people don’t engage with it.”

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