Any company that’s ever been frustrated by low adoption rates of one of their enterprise apps knows just how important it is to have employee advocates. Of course, employees won’t be advocates for apps if they don’t believe the apps are worth advocating for.
Creating advocates—employees who will champion enterprise apps and boost adoption rates—is difficult, but not impossible. One way to get started on the process is to change the script: don’t think of your employees as users, think of them as “internal customers.”
In a piece on nomophobia (fear of not having a mobile device within reach) in the enterprise, app developer Adam Fingerman explains the difference between a user and an internal customer. Users, he explains, are people who use bad enterprise apps because they have been told to use them. Customers, on the other hand, want to “help encourage more people internally to use these apps” not because they’ve been told to, but because they want to and because they enjoy the experience the apps offer.
Too often, companies rely on telling employees to use apps as a way of boosting adoption. And then, down the road, they wonder why employees have abandoned the app or stopped using it with frequency.
Think about that in the context of a piece of software for consumers: there’s no telling consumers which software they must use. Consumers have the ability to choose the product that best suits their needs. No matter how great the marketing is, no piece of consumer software is ever going to have long-term success if it doesn’t solve a core frustration with a great user experience.
How would you design your apps if you couldn’t tell employees to use them, and instead had to win over their support with a great product? Even if that’s not exactly how app deployments work in the enterprise, thinking about app development that way forces you to start with a great app and build from there. That’s a much better place to start than using “because I said so” as a deployment strategy.
These days, companies with mobile app portfolios don’t have users—they have internal customers. That may sound like a simple terminology change, but changing the way you think about your employees can go a long way towards building a truly sustainable mobility program.