Creating a seamless mobility user-experience
In a user-centric computing world, where end-users are able to choose their work styles and devices based on activities, retaining the best employee not only means allowing access to the corporate network remotely, but providing a seamless user experience.
As a knowledge worker, I am on the road or in meetings for most of my day. As a result, the tools I use to get things done, be it meetings, collaboration, communication or creation are those tools that enable me to minimize non-productive time. It’s one of the reasons WhatsApp and SMS messaging have become a default means of alerting people instead of relying on someone checking their email – it’s real time and you know it gets delivered to the device in their hand or pocket.
Weak user experience lowers productivity
Let’s look at an an example. Anyone who has used a conferencing solution where you are required to dial a phone number, enter your meeting code and your user ID knows the joys of trying to do this in the back of a taxi without first writing the various codes and numbers down somewhere else.
Trying to switch screens on your phone to read the access code, memorise it, and then get back to the dial pad before the call times out and you get the voice telling you to re-enter could be an Olympic sport. You definitely deserve a medal if you manage to complete it in the first attempt! Either way, there’s a significant impact on my day both in productivity terms and the levels of frustration I’m dealing with.
Providing a strong user experience
So what’s the resolution?
As a user, I’m only concerned with getting the service or data easily and quickly, I don’t care where the service comes from or where the data is stored when I’m not using it. What I need is for it to be available regardless of device or location, and it’s simple to use. In the case of the conferencing example; the very best user experience comes when I can click the link in a meeting invite and dial in direct from my device. Straightforward, works on all my devices and turns a frustrating experience into one where I can get directly into the task I’m supposed to be doing.
This is true across all end-user services, whether Unified Communications, productivity or collaboration tools. Even down to those internal services like claiming expenses or requesting leave. Without an acceptable level of performance, the user experience suffers and, eventually, so does the organisation’s productivity, efficiency, and competitive edge. Increasingly, employee attraction and retention is driving this shift towards focusing on the end-user, rather than on traditional KPI metrics of service uptime and support. These are still important, but if no one is using a service because the user experience is so bad, then you’ll hit the KPI of zero issues – no one will report an issue with a service they aren’t using.
How to create a successful user experience
Like many mobile workers, I’m using 3 or 4 devices a week in my role. Those services that deliver the best experience across all scenarios typically poses some or all of the following characteristics:
- Consider the end-user’s requirements. What do they need to access? Do they need everything in every scenario? What is the environment they are accessing in?
- Use APIs (securely)
- Leverage an end-to-end security strategy to help enable single sign-on so I don’t have to input long email addresses or passwords on my 4.5 inch mobile screen every time
- Use mobile apps that deliver the service or content in an appropriate format for the device being used
Simplicity and ease of use is the key to ensuring a strong user experience and should form the core of the next generation End-user Computing strategy. Whether BYO, CYO or corporate owned, employees are demanding a user experience in the corporate world to match that of the applications and service they use in their personal lives. Successful and progressive organisations will continue to attract and retain the best talent because they enable employees in the digital age; those that don’t will see challenges in these areas.
That’s me done for this week. In our next post, we will delve more deeply into some of the applications and services delivered to the modern mobile worker, and these form part of the strategy to enable an organisation in the digital age.