Technology has blurred the lines between our work lives and home lives in ways our parents could never have imagined. Think how different your work life would be if you couldn’t check your email on your phone, access the company CRM database just before that big sales meeting or check inventory levels using a business app.
But the so-called consumerization of IT also means that companies developing their own enterprise technology need to be upping their game. Gone are the days when any old software would do, despite it being hard to use, slow to react and very clunky. Technology has become so intertwined with our lives that business applications are judged by the same harsh standards that we gauge consumer apps.
Keep these points in mind as you evaluate or build enterprise software for your company.
Users expect the same experience from business technology as consumer technology. Let’s look closer at your customer relationship management (CRM) system. That’s a mature space, and people are generally familiar with how a system should work. But if your system doesn’t offer the flexibility of, say, Salesforce, and is difficult to use, what do you think your sales people are going to do? If your sales people are paid on commission, they will take the most direct route possible to close the deal. If that takes using another product, they will.
Many products are aimed at both business customers and individuals. Take Dropbox, for example. Many people have one account for both purposes, with the same functionality and user experience. If technology works well in one environment, it likely will perform just as well in another.
Keep it in real time (or as real time as possible). We want satisfaction—now. It matters not whether that instant gratification comes from YouTube or your company’s accounting system. People want to get work done when they are ready to work. Downtime for planned maintenance and upgrades should be kept to a minimum to enable access.
Not every application can be updated in real time, for many reasons. But look closely at your enterprise applications and how workers are using them to determine where it might make the most sense.
We need tools to streamline collaboration, too. Teamwork is highly valued in the business world, but people increasingly are on the go or work remotely. Collaboration tools such as Workfront help distributed teams work together on a common platform from wherever they are, while Slack enables instant communication and the ability to share files.
But let’s keep it safe. Enterprises that build their own applications need to keep security firmly in mind during the development process. It’s a concern for ready-made enterprise software, too. As the lines between work and home are erased, employees may not realize what data is stored where, so you should closely safeguard company information. Rich access controls through multi-factor authentication, hard or soft key- fobs (like Google Authenticator), fingerprint / retina scans on modern devices, with a small expiration window, will force tighter access control. Keeping a clear delineation between soft company assets (documents, data files, code, etc.) and personal files wouldcan help the enterprise ensure asset security of assets in an ever-mingling work and home life.. Solutions like Dropbox Pro, box.com, etc.,Box and others provide capabilities to keep track and access control files that belong to the business, while providing access to the personal files within the same app. Solutions like Airwatch couldAirWatch can also be used to manage access, and remote wipe BYOD devices used within the enterprise.
Technology allows us all to be more efficient at work, at home—and often in between. But companies need to deliver software that performs to the same degree as beloved consumer apps while maintaining an appropriate level of security.