Traditionally, enterprise products—from custom built intranets, to ERP systems—are hand selected by a company’s top management personnel and put to use by end users who (by the way) have no say in the product selection. But this process of implementing mission critical software packages is archaic, and part of the reason that we’re seeing the light in today’s business world is due to the proliferation of mobile functionality within the workplace—not to mention the fact that modern design strategies have slowly but surely begun to effect the way we think about mobile enterprise apps.
Today’s teams and employees are more empowered than ever to select and use the tools they desire.
If you prefer working from a tablet while entering data into a spread sheet, that can easily be accomplished (and without creating a data trail that’s difficult to tie into the rest of your company’s mission critical information). Likewise, if you love answering emails on the go, chatting with co-workers about a new project, or keeping up to date on an AdWords campaign, your smart phone is probably one of the best tools you have in your business related arsenal.
But, with desire, comes certain design obligations. Without the right emphasis on UX, the proliferation of mobile enterprise apps can (and will) easily add to our everyday clutter, as opposed to helping us do our jobs more efficiently. And as it becomes more common for end users to become decision makers, it is up to enterprise software manufacturers to focus not just on what solutions will work, but what solutions their constituents want.
That’s where the importance of Design Thinking in enterprise mobility lies…
Take your pick from any of the new kids on the block: Asana, Slack, Evernote. One thing that they all share in common is a passion for putting forth a concerted effort to implement Design Thinking strategies within the construction of their mobile enterprise applications. What all three of these companies know is that it simply isn’t enough anymore to make an application that solves a problem—instead, modern business solutions must also create an emotional connection with their end users.
But what is Design Thinking and why does it matter to your next foray into building a mobile enterprise solution?
In short, Design Thinking is an iterative process that—instead of attempting to fix problems as they arise—focuses on putting empathy at the forefront of finding solutions.
As opposed to a more analytical process of implementing an enterprise system, (think of how ERP’s are typically implemented: an executive, or group of executives, get together and systematically asses how the new ERP system can intuitively solve the end user’s needs—instead of the actual end user being involved in the implementation process) Design Thinking drives collaboration and abandons analysis in favor of creative problem solving.
Unlike more traditional project implementation strategies—which consider X so that they can solve for Y—Design Thinking allows for teams to think of Y as a constantly moving target. And with the number of devices that are equipped to accommodate enterprise level solutions growing by the day, it’s no wonder why Design Thinking has a big role to play in the future of how mobile enterprise applications will be received by end users, and not just the buyers who are at the top of the company considering paying for their product as a service.