We just ran another mobility workshop at the International SAP for Utilities conference in Lisbon, it was full house and showed there is no slowdown on interest in this topic. We reviewed the latest innovations, product roadmaps and discussed experiences and business needs.
We started with, ‘why do we like mobile apps so much’? It’s the user experience.
Our overall strategy for mobile solutions has shifted to an even stronger focus on the best user experience (UX) for business users. Good apps increase efficiency, orchestrate processes across backend systems and can transform business interactions. The UX is the most critical factor. UX stands for user experience which is a wider view whereas UI stands for user interface. For example, a nice looking UI can come along with a bad UX if the app is just slow.
We are also saying, don’t worry and don’t start with a technical discussion. The challenge that app developers have is usually not technical, it is the design itself.
So how can we create apps that are easy and not confusing to use and have the right functionality? What is the most successful way to provide good (mobile) apps to your employees, customers and contractors?
First, you need to understand the application needs, the ‘personas’ approach seems to be ideal. Categorize and find out which apps are needed by each persona type. Some are obvious, for example, most employees will need a simple vacation request app occasionally. On the other hand the group of field technicians needs a special and complex app for work orders every day.
You prioritize, research and make some basic decisions. Buy off the shelf, buy and extend or build, all of these approaches are valid, but decide case by case, app by app. Please contact us if you have any questions about mobile apps we provide for Utilities companies.
For simple and occasional apps consider web or hybrid, for specialized use case that require high usability, offline or certain device features go native:
In case you design your own app, follow a proven path and recognize that for mobile apps there are special tools and platforms that are very helpful.
During the discovery and design phase, SAP provides a tool called BUILD (www.build.me) to help prototype, verify user needs and design beautiful apps. Using such a tool not only speeds up the process with a workbench, templates and feedback mechanisms, it also ensures that apps will look professionally, follow the Fiori guidelines and cause no problem for developers to deliver the intended design.
For the app development we have several options, please refer to the SAP Cloud Platform Mobile https://cloudplatform.sap.com/capabilities/mobile.html . Have a special look at the now available SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS: https://developer.apple.com/sap/
And don’t forget the deployment including app and device management, authentication and content management, also available from the SAP Cloud platform.
Remember, it’s about the UX. The mobile app UX is a great end point for any business process. And as always, mobile keeps evolving at a fast pace, check what’s the latest and don’t hesitate to ask,