Go back ten years and mobile phones were much simpler devices, used only to make phone calls, send text messages or play basic games – does anyone remember Snake? As the years have passed, and technology has improved and evolved, they’ve become much more capable devices. The launch of the original iPhone, back in 2007, had a big part to play in this. It wasn’t the first ‘smartphone’ by a long way, but it did popularise many of the features we now take for granted – like ‘pinch to zoom’ and mobile Apps.
Indeed so advanced are many modern mobile devices they are in fact small computers, making phone calls is almost a secondary requirement. Users can browse the Internet, send and receive e-mail, attend video conferences, create documents and download and use Apps.
These trends have affected businesses and the enterprise market almost as much as the consumer one. Trends like ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) and changing working practices like ‘flex-time’ mean people now do a great deal of work on phones and tablets.
As a result Enterprise tools, including social apps, need to adapt. They need to evolve with technology and ensure they work across devices and platforms in the way users expect.
Mobile is booming
Earlier in the year we wrote a whitepaper on why ‘Mobile is eating the workplace’. One thing we saw clearly was the huge increase in mobile app downloads within the enterprise, and the fact that employees love apps for work almost as much as they do for personal use. This is partly down to the unique nature of the app.
An app typically provides a small piece of functionality, in quite a focused way, wrapped up in a dedicated UI. Users typically know quickly what to do with the app, how to use it, and don’t need training or a manual. This ethos sees users collect groups of applications to do slightly different things with the same space. So within a social space in the enterprise we would expect users to have a handful of apps they trust.
Mobile apps also make it very easy for users to stay connected on the move. Apps can easily take advantage of a phone or tablets unique properties – GPS, data connection, even compass. This ‘always connected’ approach has meant people expect quicker response times on e-mail, and are increasingly taking advantage of more responsive social mediums.
So if we accept that mobile and apps are here to stay, how can we use these technologies to present a great enterprise social network experience?
Apps that delight!
- Simplicity: Our app is built to be as simple as possible for the end user, whilst maintaining all of the functionality they need to get the task done.
- Content first: The most important feature of a social network is the content. We designed our apps around the content, and stripped away the unnecessary information that isn’t needed on the move. For example, a post creation date is not vital on an app and needn’t been displayed, so it’s removed from the feed to give a cleaner display on a smaller screen.
- Modern UI design (Windows): Formerly called the Metro design, our Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 apps are designed according to the Modern UI guidelines. And we think they are beautiful.
- Synchronisation between devices (Windows): All activities in the app are synchronised between devices. E.g. the user can start using the app on a tablet in a meeting room and continue seamlessly using the mobile app. We support how users actually work.
Increase user adoption and engagement
Times have changed, mobile devices are now a vital part of any enterprise. Employees want to use their phone or tablet to help them with their day-to-day jobs. Providing them with social features on these devices helps to drive efficiency, user adoption, and engagement.
Beezy makes it possible to stay connected while on the move by providing mobile apps for Android, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone. The apps allow users to see their social feed, find colleagues, and browse through upcoming activities. Most of all, it will make them feel more connected to the enterprise.