Are you using enterprise mobile apps at work?

When was the last time you used an enterprise mobile app in the office? We’re not talking Facebook and Snapchat here, but workplace apps that make it easier to do your job. The strange thing is, despite more or less everyone having a smartphone, if not a tablet, at work, people aren’t using enterprise mobile apps to get things done. In fact a 2017 study by ArcTouch revealed that only 12% of office workers are using enterprise mobile apps. So what exactly is going on?

Could it be that they aren’t worth using? That they don’t provide value? Apparently not. Quite the opposite, in fact. Enterprise mobile apps have a massive impact on effectiveness at work. No less than 85% of people say their most-used app saves them time and 83% say it makes them more productive.

So if enterprise mobile apps help us save time and work more productively, you’d assume we’d be all over them in the office and on the move.

Why employees aren’t using enterprise mobile apps

It comes down to one prevailing point: the user experience sucks. Despite employees’ huge appetite for more apps in the workplace, they aren’t living up to expectations. 70% of people say the app they use the most isn’t intuitive. Meanwhile, nearly half say it isn’t reliable or stable. Users find them a headache. It turns out being functional isn’t enough. We want user friendly apps that work, otherwise we’ll simply refuse to use.

User experience in Smartway2’s mobile app

For these reasons, we focused relentlessly on user experience when designing the Smartway2 mobile app. A common complaint with enterprise mobile apps is that the mobile interface bears no resemblance to the desktop or browser version. When people open it, everything looks unfamiliar. You can’t access the full feature set you expect. It’s as if mobile was a bolt-on afterthought.

In Smartway2, everything always looks the same, across every device. You can complete your meeting room booking or desk booking within seconds from your mobile, tablet, desktop, or meeting room display. It’s so intuitive that employees don’t even need training.

enterprise mobile apps - meeting scheduling

Say I want to make a reservation for tomorrow at 11.30. And I want this to be a recurring booking every week. The Smartway2 app shows me which resources are available in my vicinity. Then I can filter these by resource type, location, or refine the list with a combination of all these factors.

So I decide I’d like to book a room in the Gherkin. I want the video conferencing room, with a particular seating capacity.
enterprise mobile apps - meeting room booking
When I continue, it asks me to confirm I’m going to use the VC facilities. This is because a rule has been configured to make sure I’m actually planning to use the equipment. Otherwise I might just book this room because it’s my favourite (we’ve all been guilty of that one). Best not to encourage those room-hogging equipment-wasters among us.

Enterprise apps are failing to use location services

Another top gripe with enterprise mobile apps is constant form-filling and inputting of information. These days we expect our phone to know where we are and to offer up the information we need, when we need it.

We thought about this deeply when designing Smartway2. It’s easy to forget to book a meeting room, desk, or car parking space in advance. Particularly when you travel from office to office and don’t always know where you’re going to be from one day to the next.

Meeting room & desk booking ‘here and now’

That’s why we built Smartway2’s ‘book here and now’ feature.

Say you’re pulling up to the office and you haven’t booked a  meeting room or desk. Using location services Smartway2 returns available resources in the immediate vicinity. I can see I’m 72m from the the nearest available desk.

So I book it for immediate use. Desk panels can indicate when a desk is in use.

Likewise, say I used my phone to book the boardroom. The display panel outside the boardroom turns orange, showing passers by that the room is booked and check-in is open, so people are about to start showing up. When I arrive, I need to check in within 15 mins, because this office has a 15 minute check-in rule (read this to discover why meeting room booking rules are vital for a smooth-running office). If I don’t show up in time, the panel will turn green again.

I can check in by authenticating via bluetooth, simply holding my phone up to the panel, so I don’t have the hassle of form-filling and typing on-screen. The panel goes from orange to red, making it clear that the room is in use.

Smartway2 integrates with Google Places

Using location services, Smartway2 will even take you for coffee. Well, sort of.
enterprise mobile apps - meeting scheduling
There’s a personal calendar on my phone, so I can see my next meeting isn’t until 2.30pm. Smartway2 knows I’m at a location away from my normal office. I’ve got 28 minutes to kill. I simply hit ‘Have a coffee while you wait?’ and I can look for a cafe, then get directions to it.
enterprise mobile apps - meeting room booking
This feature can be really useful for parking too. It’s like having a Smartway2 kiosk in your pocket.

enterprise mobile apps - resource scheduling
Employees want personalised notifications

We’re used to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – not to mention email – constantly pinging us with notifications. We sometimes switch them off, because they’re a distraction, disrupting our focus when we’re trying to work. Yet when it comes to enterprise mobile apps, it’s a different story. Notifications can help us get things done, particularly in today’s fast-moving workplace, or out on the road. A Forrester study commissioned by Sapho found that 30% of employees want personalised notifications and a personalised feed of actions and updates, to improve how they leverage, access and take action on information.

Notifications can help keep people know where they should be and what they should be doing. This has never been so important to employee productivity. Yet most enterprise apps are falling short.

Notifications in Smartway2

In-app notification in Smartway2 remind you when you’ve got a meeting coming up and alert you if one of your bookings has changed. Saying you’ve booked catering to deliver a working lunch in the boardroom tomorrow, notifications can let you know whether your order has gone through, or if it has been rejected because hospitality aren’t available to fulfil it.

When you’re organising meetings with busy people, there’s often a lot of chopping and changing to contend with. Communication is vital, and although emails are handy, it’s much more convenient when you’re on-the-move to stay in the loop via mobile.

Perhaps some of the rooms and desks in your office have rules, requiring someone to approve the booking. Notifications will keep you informed, so you can make another booking if your request is turned down, all within the app.

Smartway2 has a smart Outlook integration, so wherever you are, your Outlook calendar is kept up to date every time you make a change via mobile, or a display tablet, and vice versa. Everything updates instantly, everywhere.

Why you should use enterprise mobile apps

It’s clear enterprise mobile apps can improve productivity at work. It’s even clearer that an opportunity is being wasted. An opportunity to save 240 hours per employee per year, no less. In other words, six weeks’ worth of work for each employee, according to iPass’s Mobile Workforce Report.

So why aren’t enterprises moving faster? If employees want mobile-first work experiences, why aren’t they getting them?

In truth, mobilising the workforce is a top priority for most organisations today, but it turns out it isn’t the board or IT department leading the way, it’s the employees.

Employee demand is growing five times faster than IT’s capacity to deliver, according to Gartner. There’s no way IT can keep up with custom app development to satisfy this need, so it’s up to enterprise software providers to make sure their mobile apps are up to scratch: secure and reliable, with an awesome user experience.


If you’d like to see Smartway2’s user experience in action, feel free to request a demo. We love sharing ideas on how to improve meeting room management in your organisation, so give us a call if you’d like to talk on +44 (0) 1494 230 036, or contact us here.


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