SAP announced earlier this year the development of a series of mobile workflow applications focused on increasing employee productivity such as travel and expense capture, approving HR-based requests, entering sales orders and approving or rejecting purchase orders (see announcement here). I wanted to dedicate my first blog to these mobile apps and open a discussion around their potential use inside the office.
These mobile productivity apps are often referred to as Instant Value mobile apps meaning that they have been designed for workflows that can be completed very quickly and with a few numbers of clicks. The naming is also meant to differentiate them from the more heavy weight mobile apps that SAP recently released such as the Sybase Mobile Sales for SAP CRM, Retail Execution and the Field Services apps that were designed for users that find themselves out of the office for extended periods of time and therefore require offline data storage.
Simplicity and modularity is a key theme across these productivity apps. A conscious design decision was taken to move away from the monster type app and to break the apps down to their lowest possible denominator. The end result is a series of lightweight apps that are highly optimized to perform very specific tasks. The apps are also consumer friendly in order to meet the high expectations of employees that have grown accustomed to the intuitive user interface of consumer mobile apps that they download every day from mobile app stores and have grown to rely on in their daily lives.
This combination of the consumer grade interface and use case optimization might very well lure in employees inside the office that are within short reach of their personal computers. I don’t find it difficult to imagine that employees sitting within reach of their laptops would pull out their mobile phones or tablets and use these productivity apps in just the same way I see people checking their emails or bank accounts on their mobile phones while sitting next to their laptops.
So while these mobile productivity apps where built to be used by employees that find themselves on the road, their elegant design and laser sharp task focus could very likely lead to their adoption inside the office too.