As mobile devices continue to permeate our personal lives, the demand for corporate mobile apps continues to rise. And while human resources (HR) might not be at the top of the mobile to-do list, many mobile experts are asking, “why not?”
For starters, only a handful of developers offer Human Capital Management (HCM) mobile solutions – usually limited to slim, basic process steps with little customization. And this is not enough to satiate HR departments that require killer mobile apps to engage employees.
How soon will HR solution vendors put some muscle into meeting this demand so HR can join the mobility bandwagon?
Changing the mobile mindset
According to Daniel Meszaros, Prime Mover in Portal, Mobility, and UX for the Maersk Group, bigger players like SuccessFactors have robust mobile offerings, but individual apps aren’t quite ready for prime time, and this must change.
“So it might happen that you actually start executing a process on your phone and then you have to finish it up on your desktop computer,” said Meszaros during a recent SAP Radio broadcast. “The functionality is simply not available on the app that is provided to you.”
Nataraj Ganapathy head of HCM and Mobility Practices at Cogent Integrated Business Solutions is all too familiar with organizations that struggle with managing these mobile changes.
“It does not matter what kind of resources organizations have or if they have a great vision,” said Ganapathy. “Until they can put together a good change management strategy to manage HR mobility changes, I don’t think they’re going to be successful.”
Ingrid Bernaudin, product manager at SuccessFactors is also a firm believer in change and says HR needs to start thinking about how to make employees lives easier by empowering them to complete HR processes they typically hate doing.
“I believe mobile is a game changer and companies need to start thinking about how to leverage this game changer and how it will disrupt their own solutions and move forward,” said Bernaudin.
Meeting mobile HCM demand
Mobile experts agree it’s not an easy task to mobilize business processes and some would argue that all the bells and whistles of the desktop experience aren’t necessary to meet mobile HCM demand.
“Screen real estate is very valuable when it comes to apps,” said Meszaros. “But if you can’t execute at least 90% of your processes, then the value add for implementing an app will also be quite limited.”
Meszaros believes increased focus from vendors to create more appealing HCM apps and the advancement of cloud solutions may have massive impact on making HCM mobility work.
“We’re looking at some very exciting times ahead of us,” said Meszaros.
Cogent’s Ganapathy is also excited about the future but believes major gaps need to be filled to meet employee demand.
“In the next couple of years, we’re going to see more advancement in terms of how these apps are going to evolve,” said Ganapathy. “But at the same time, employee demand also could change in the next couple of years. It will be very interesting to see how vendors keep pace with employee demand.”
SuccessFactors’ Bernaudin said there is a good reason why mobile HCM apps aren’t more widespread. Changing the screen size and making it available on the smaller device is not a good mobile solution, for instance.
“In order to create a beautiful and useful mobile application, we need to fundamentally rethink the way we do our solutions, and that takes time,” said Bernaudin.
Bernaudin said it’s very difficult for enterprises to enable business critical mobile applications for a variety of reasons.
“We are helping many customers bring this demand into reality by understanding security concerns, what it means to bring business sensitive data to a mobile device, and how we can make sure it’s safe and sound.”