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HP Software's community for IT leaders // April 2013
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Mobile puts the user in charge

In the mobile era, user-centricity is all.  Make sure your apps give them the relevance and convenience they enjoy everywhere else.
 
Employees have long expected cutting-edge experiences on their personal devices, even as they use enterprise apps that are far behind the curve. The apps that we use for fun seem to practically know us—they call us by name and recommend the products we like and remind us to buy the milk when we drive by the store. But the applications we use in the office—when they exist at all—have no idea who we are, where we are, or what we might need to do our jobs better.
 
The next generation of talent expects something different of its employers: it demands the same user-centricity at work that’s found everywhere else. Organizations that don’t provide it will not only fail to attract top talent, but will also miss opportunities for smoother collaboration, higher productivity, and happier customers. Here’s how to rethink app creation for a user-centric experience that delights employees and serves business objectives.

Put it all in context

Any app should be about more than slapping data onto a screen; it has to create an intimate relationship with users. People need their apps to be aware of what activity they’re performing, to the extent that the app recognizes who else within their organization has knowledge or experience with the task at hand. For example, if a developer is reviewing an open defect, the app should know who else in the organization—testers, developers, business users—has experience with the same module.
 
In addition, this collaboration should be possible from inside the app itself, meaning that if the user wants to reach someone, they shouldn’t have to toggle to a different messaging or email client to do so.

Know who you’re dealing with 

It’s not enough to know what people might be useful collaborators in a given activity; an app must know which people have the appropriate permissions to become involved in the conversation. For example, an HR rep seeking confirmation of salary bands should have suggested to him/her only those team members with permission to access and discuss the information.

Build—and tap into—institutional memory

If apps provide the kind of collaboration described here, they become natural repositories of useful information about specific activities. It’s important to build up a searchable knowledge base that others can leverage when they encounter a problem or question that somebody has already addressed. In the earlier example of a system defect, such a repository would hold past conversations and decisions regarding the behavior and functionality.

Put it everywhere

Today, most enterprise collaboration tools assume that users are sitting in front of a computer and working in their email. But a user-centric app expects that users are on the go, and gives them the same collaboration functionality whether they’re in an office cubicle with a laptop, on an airplane with a phone, or at a customer site with a tablet.
 
For more on making the most of mobile app opportunities, check out HP Anywhere—and download it for a free trial.


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