There’s good news about enterprise mobile apps: according to a survey by app developer ArcTouch, there’s strong demand for work-related mobile apps. Of 487 employees surveyed, 85% say the app they turn to the most saves them time. 

Unfortunately, there’s bad news, too. As Dinah Brin notes in an article for SHRMjust 12% of the more than 4,000 workers screened for the study who have access to apps actually use them on the job. That’s a big gap between folks who think enterprise mobile apps are useful, and those who even use apps at work at all.

So: what’s the deal? 

Brin’s consensus–which we agree with–is that user experience is the missing piece of the puzzle. 

The difference between an app that boosts productivity, but is boring to look at and use, and an app that boosts productivity and adds delight to users’ lives may not seem significant, but it is. How many apps can you name that you keep on your phone and use regularly, but which don’t look interesting or have a good user interface? We’d bet that the answer is not many.

The user experience factor is one we’ve discussed a few times before. Though certainly users want apps that work, they want more than that: they want apps that make their lives easier and are a pleasure to use. Forgetting about user experience–especially compared to consumer apps–is a surefire way to make your enterprise app fail. The big gap between available apps and employees using them, indicated in the ArcTouch survey, is yet another proof point about the importance of user experience.

“Is it boring?” is hardly the most strategic question you could ask about your enterprise mobile app, but it carries more weight when you might expect. When it comes to getting employees to actually use the apps you develop, a little bit of focus on user experience goes a long way.