Enterprise apps: if you want to boost productivity, talk to the workers

Companies are struggling to design software that works well in a mobile-centric world. Fixing this means going back to basics.

A shade over three quarters of firms said they wanted to deploy applications more quickly. A further 69 per cent wanted applications that run across multiple devices, although it's not clear whether this means cross-platform compatibility, or for apps to be "responsive", to run across, say, tablets and smartphones.

Ideally, of course, a modern business app will be both. But 68 per cent of survey respondents also said that they intend to increase their focus on user-centric design, when it comes to in-house app development.

This is good news, and in some enterprises at least, long overdue. There is a direct link between an improved user experience in IT, and productivity. Improving the way people work with apps and taking some cues from the consumer world can provide a quick return on investment.

But consumer app companies are not the only source of inspiration, when it comes to software design.

Manufacturers such as Nissan and Toyota have found that some of the best suggestions for improving both processes, and products, have come from the factory floor. Perhaps CIOs looking to improve their apps, should start by asking for input from the people who use them.

Stephen Pritchard is a contributing editor at IT Pro.

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