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A couple of weeks ago I attended a mobile conference in downtown San Francisco. Many companies that have made a name for themselves thanks to their mobile apps and a mobile-first approach were there either as speakers or attendees. And throughout the sessions and the conversations I had, the message that kept on repeating over and over was very clear: mobile apps are key to achieve high user engagement.

Let’s take Pinterest as an example. 75% from their traffic comes from mobile. Their mobile users use the service twice as often as the desktop web users, and most importantly they report 60% higher satisfaction when using the product. What’s not to like about this?

And if you look at the global mobile market it is undeniable that mobile apps are the way to go if you want to engage the majority of your users: 86% of time spent on mobile devices is done on mobile apps versus a 14% on a mobile browser.  [source: “The Age of living mobile” by Flurry]

Does this breakneck mobile adoption anticipate the demise of the browser as a way to access cloud applications? Absolutely not. What we are seeing nowadays is a diversification of access to computing. Desktop web apps will still be the preferred option for power users because of the richness of features. Mobile apps will be the preferred choice for casual users because their simplicity and immediacy. Contrary to what many mobile zealots believe, mobile is not going to replace the desktop web app. Mobile is here to extend the user experience to more users, situations and devices.

Closing the HR engagement gap with mobile

And how does this impact the enterprise? At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, we are going to say that mobility is probably the best opportunity companies have ever had to engage their employees with enterprise software.

Let’s look at HR more specifically. In any company with more than 500 employees, people working in the HR department are approximately 1% of the total employee count [source: SHRM]. Let’s call them ‘power HR users’. They are the ones that have traditionally benefited the most from HR solutions because they are the primary users and because the features with most business value are designed for them.

On the other side we have the 99% of your employees. They are the ‘casual HR users’: people for whom HR systems are not their primary business tool and only use it sporadically. They are the ones that have felt underserved by HR for the longest time and they are the reason why companies have suffered from the ‘HR engagement gap’ – a failure to engage employees and increase their satisfaction through HR technology.

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The causes behind these lack of engagement are multiple: they are usually overwhelmed by all the complexity and options offered in HR portals, they forget how HR systems work because of lack of frequency of use, and they are usually reluctant to follow any boring training for HR tasks that anyway they will only do several times a year. This engagement gap has terrible consequences for companies: it lowers the productivity of the entire organization and as a consequence HR ends up spending to much time supporting employees with basic HR tasks rather than spending precious time on strategic HR activities.

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Mobility has the power to close this engagement gap. Its simplicity, ease of use, and immediacy makes it the ideal tool for casual HR users, which, let’s not forget, they are practically *all* of your HR user base. For them, when they can access HR with a mobile device things can’t get easier. No need to get into the employee portal to do a leave request.  No need to open your laptop to approve a new hire. Just pull out your smartphone and get it done in seconds. As a result employees are more engaged, more productive and they are much smarter about the way they work.

Looking ahead within our mobile team there is a shared belief that in a not too distant future, most of HR technology consumption will happen through mobile. Casual HR users will interact with HR through mobile devices while HR power users will continue to use desktop web apps. How long until this happens? If the adoption of SuccessFactors Mobile serves as an indicator of what is happening in the larger enterprise market this will probably happen faster than you think. Looking at our latest metrics we have seen that more than 70% of SuccessFactors customers are currently using SuccessFactors Mobile and in terms of mobile usage we are seeing the total amount of weekly active users (WAU) doubling every five months. Yes, that is quite a high adoption rate.

May 2014 release: fully redesigned iPhone application

Moving on to our May release, we have achieved another milestone towards increasing employee engagement and helping our customers bring HR closer to their employees. SuccessFactors iPhone app users can now enjoy a complete redesign that follows the look-and-feel of the SuccessFactors iPad app http://scn.sap.com/community/erp/hcm/blog/2013/12/05/successfactors-november-release-mobile : cleaner, brighter and friendlier.

The application homescreen has been rethought from the ground up to provide users with a more personalized and insightful experience. The menu adapts based on the user‘s context and provides time-critical information that nudges users to act.

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Efficiency has been a big focus of the redesign as well. Tasks that are most often used by users in mobile settings have been streamlined so now it is faster than ever to act on approvals, request vacation or create a Touchbase topic on the spot.

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Employee Profile is another area where we have put a lot of ‘mobile-first’ thinking. Beyond the enhanced employee profile that now supports all core employee information, users can now update their profile picture by either selecting a picture from their phone photo album or taking a picture of themselves with their camera phone (commonly known as ‘selfie’).

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These are just some highlights of our May 2014 release but you can also expect similar design improvements on the iPhone app related to Jam, search, onboarding and and analytics. If you are already a SuccessFactors Mobile user we recommend you to download the app so you can see for yourself the whole new iPhone experience we have prepared for you.

If you are a SuccessFactors customer but have not deployed Mobile yet we strongly encourage you to give it a try. With the simple but powerful mobile administration panel you can activate and deploy it in minutes. Extra data security and robust access controls guarantee a zero risk deployment. And best of all, SuccessFactors Mobile is included in your SuccessFactors subscription!

Learn more at successfactors.com/mobile or if you are already part of the SuccessFactors Community go to community.successfactors.com/t5/Mobile/ct-p/Mobile

Follow SuccessFactors on twitter: @successfactors

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1 Comment

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  1. eva woo

    I really like the new Mobile UI. With weekly active users doubling every 5 months it’s great that the team is continuing to come up with creative innovations to make the experience spectacular! Thanks for the blog Enric.

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