Why You Need a Mobile Enterprise Strategy

Why You Need a Mobile Enterprise StrategyWe can remember a time when automation was so expensive and hard to implement that the idea of getting technology anywhere but your IT department was unthinkable. We didn’t think about user satisfaction because there were no alternatives. Getting new technology took years.

The Mobile Wild West

Today we have a different problem. It is easy for any business function or department to find mobile apps that help people get work done by visiting the App Store or Google Play Store. Then, we strong-arm IT into supporting our devices and connecting us to our enterprise applications. Our business platforms in Marketing, Finance, Logistics, Human Resources, and everywhere else give us mobile apps our IT departments don’t even know about.

CIOs everywhere have nightmares of leaking data and ever-growing support demands. It seems like a modern “Wild West” where everyone has a mobile device and isn’t afraid to use it.

Mobile Users Drive the Agenda

The easy availability of mobile apps for personal consumption has created a demand for the same ease of use in daily work. In the consumer app market, most applications are failures. On average, only five percent of users still use an app 90 days after installing it. Most apps are deleted after first use.

Things are no better in business apps:

  • “Nearly 80% of enterprise mobile apps are abandoned after their first use.
  • 64% of employees cite poor user experience as the reason for rarely using enterprise mobile apps.
  • A study of 1,000 full-time and part-time employees reveals that 43% of smartphone users and 41% of tablet users are not impressed with the corporate mobile apps they’re expected to use.”[1]

The Need for Enterprise Mobile Strategy

The path ahead requires strategy and governance, and enterprise mobile strategy should be an integral part of the business plan.

The future of mobile is changing the way we communicate and work, and it extends far beyond consumer marketing. In the modern enterprise, we use mobile devices for everything we do, and that includes interacting with partners, suppliers, distributors, and each other. Moreover, it is now a necessity for workplace learning.

As you fold your mobile operations into your digital strategy and data governance, we want to offer a few considerations that may help guide your efforts.

  • Consider creating an app store. It can be a gentle way to persuade ungoverned app users to support the strategy and will make it easier to control what apps your people use.
  • Monitor and analyze network traffic to see which apps and devices are in use. Understand the security challenges each one presents.
  • Extend data security governance to mobile devices and apps and educate users on their role in security.
  • Whether you use in-house app developers, non-coding apps created by business users, or work with a mobile application partner, adopt integration standards across the enterprise with REST/JSON mobile APIs. Make it easy for your app developers to security connect their applications to your business platforms.
  • When you develop mobile apps, consider design first, then technology. It doesn’t matter how well it fits the device platform if the design doesn’t engage your users.

The wave of technology we experience now is only the beginning of the changes we will see in our lifetimes. We hope we have given you some useful things to think about as you prepare for your digital future.


Rao, Nithin. "The Ultimate List of Enterprise Mobility Statistics." Business 2 Community. November 02, 2016

How Collaboration and Mobile Technology Can Improve the Way you Manage Performance

How Collaboration and Mobile Technology Can Improve the Way you Manage Performance A couple of years ago, we met the wave of news about a mass movement to eliminate performance evaluations with skepticism. Seeking another opinion, we reached out to former colleague Rob Budzinski at SuccessFactors. Rob’s answer was succinct. He said most companies need evaluation numbers for compensation and compliance, and he didn’t really expect much change.

Although we see a lot of publicity about eliminating annual reviews, we have not seen wholesale change. According to CEB Global, 49% of HR leaders removed ratings or are considering it, but only 6% have. Those leaders may be having second thoughts. In May of 2016, CEB reported that when ratings are removed,

  • Manager conversation quality declines by 14%.
  • Informal conversations decrease by 10 hours per week.
  • Managers have trouble explaining how pay decisions are made.
  • Employee engagement drops by 6% because managers are unable to engage employees.

In short, many managers cannot operate without ratings to support the conversations. In September of 2016, we wrote about how Gallup’s 2015 State of the American Manager report showed how most managers are unable to lead because few have the talent. We concluded then that if you want to improve performance, you need to hire and promote talented managers and support the ones you have.

We still need ratings to make decisions and defend against potential adverse actions. But cultures are changing, and we see positive trends.

  • Adopting a more collaborative approach to work. Teams work together and give each other performance feedback.
  • A collaborative approach to goal setting, from the bottom up. Organizations are paying more attention to goal alignment.
  • Frequent conversations about performance between managers and employees.
  • Eliminating ranking and forced distribution.
  • Requiring future-oriented discussions instead of focusing on the past.

We were recommending these actions to our clients fifteen years ago, but we had limitations. First, even though we had state of the art technology at the time, it was hard to use, and the process much too long. When we suggested more frequent check-ins, most clients declined because they didn’t want to burden their people with more administrative work. Second, HR’s approach to technology centered on making HR work easier. Focus on the employee experience was yet to come.

Modern technology is employee-centric, and if it isn’t easy to use, people abandon it.  A great user experience is now a requirement for enterprise software.

With that in mind, here are some of the ways we would like to see current technology used to create a more effective and efficient performance management process.

  • Implement enterprise collaboration tools so anyone can give feedback to anyone. Many widgets and plugins are available for          that purpose. Marketing is doing a great job of capturing customer feedback. You can use the same techniques for the                     interaction between your people and partners, suppliers, contingent workers, and each other.
  • Use a 360° plugin or widget in your collaboration software to collect feedback from project team members for everyone on            the team.
  • Bring your collaboration software, LMS, and a mentoring solution together to provide always-on learning, performance                    support, and coaching for managers.
  • Use consumer-grade and mobile technology to make it easy to capture a discussion when it happens. Create mobile                        applications that enable managers to document the essence of the conversation without writing an essay.

Collaboration technology and better tools will not change your culture, but if you are working on it, these solutions will help you create a more open, transparent organization. And don’t settle for yesterday’s HR-centric software. If your current vendor doesn't make a move, maybe you should.


1. The Real Impact Removing Performance Ratings on Employee Performance. CEB Blog, May 12, 2016.

Is Mobile Design in Your Human Capital Management Strategy?

Is_Mobile_Design_in_Your_Human_Capital_Management_StrategyFifteen years ago vendors were designing applications to make HR’s work easier. While we had self-service applications for our platforms, we configured them to organize data. The user experience was secondary, and we often created workflows that required extensive training and support for end users. The result was that managers and employees didn’t use self-service unless they had no other alternative. Executives didn’t use it at all.

Today’s users want access anytime, anywhere, and on any device. Employees want to be able to select their benefits options as easily as they order an e-book online. Managers want to be able to approve time off while they are on the go. Executives want actionable business intelligence in real time no matter where they are or what they are doing.

It is more than a desire for a simple, useful experience. People have become more mobile. They often work from coffee shops, airport lounges, and their backyard patios. The freelance contingent workforce is growing, and most of them work from their homes or remote offices. And let us not discount the vast numbers of workers who are on the move all day providing services and deliveries.

Human capital management technology is a very competitive marketplace. Vendors jumped into the mobile market trying to get an edge in the market, and now we are in the “me, too” stage of the first generation of HCM mobile apps. It is hard to find a vendor that doesn’t have at least some mobile capability.

Industry analysts like Micah Fairchild urge caution. Fairchild is deciphering whether mobile HCM software lives up to the hype and recommends that buyers use caution when evaluating mobile applications. He flatly stated that mobile HCM is “not ready for mainstream adoption.”

We disagree. It depends on the function and how well it is implemented. There are excellent applications available for some functions, and they are improving rapidly. Let us review the use cases and why you may want to include them in your mobile strategy.

Recruiting. People in the recruiting business will tell you mobile recruiting is a necessity. There is a lot of hype about mobile recruiting that would have you believe almost all job seekers are applying for jobs using mobile devices. Don’t believe it.

Trying to type a job application on a mobile phone is such a tedious chore people will do it only if they have no other alternative. Glassdoor, a trusted source, tells us that 45% of people use their mobile device daily to search for jobs, but 58% say it is important to be able to save a job on their mobile device and apply later using their desktop. Searching for jobs is one thing, applying for them is quite another.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a mobile recruiting strategy. There are several reasons you should.

  • According to Glassdoor, 86% of job seekers begin their job search on mobile devices.
  • Today’s job market requires cultivation of passive job seekers, who will use their personal mobile devices instead of their workplace computers. If you are committed to engaging passive job seekers, you will need a talent community, and online communities live on mobile devices.
  • What gets talent in the door is the candidate experience, and mobile is the best way to stay in contact.
  • People use mobile devices for social media websites, and that is where your reputation resides. You should be managing your online reputation by engaging the mobile social community.

Onboarding. As we discuss in our onboarding infographic, the experience begins the moment your candidate accepts your offer, and the nurturing continues well past the first day of work. A mobile onboarding app will help grow the relationship.

Goal Management and Performance. Whether you need a mobile app for goal management and performance depends on your business. If people interact in their offices where they use desktop computers, it may not be necessary. If they are on the go or a factory floor, mobile may be helpful.

Mobile Learning and Development. The ability to access short bursts of training in micro learning and spaced repetition sessions is proving to have a beneficial impact on learning retention. Enabling people to use short training sessions while they are in a waiting room or an airport lounge can boost learning engagement.

Payroll and Benefits. People expect to have the same 24/7 access to their payroll and benefits information they have with their banking services.

Time and Attendance. For remote or mobile workers, being able to track their work time from a mobile device makes sense. Time entry will be much more accurate if employees can quickly enter start and stop times on their mobile devices instead of remembering their work hours at the end of the week. You may find that the improved accuracy in timekeeping will pay for the mobile deployment.

We also think both you and your employees would benefit from being able to request time off from home while they are making their plans. Supervisors and managers will prefer to be able to approve time and attendance from mobile devices as the events occur.

Analytics and Dashboards. Your executives and managers will appreciate the ability to use business analytics from wherever they are. It is much better to be able to call up information in a meeting that having to defer a decision until another meeting.

Design Standards

When you are evaluating mobile deployment, require applications designed for mobile devices. Some vendors use responsive design for their web pages, which means they build web pages that automatically scale to any screen dimensions. Not all responsive designs are the same. Designed for the mobile experience, they can work well, but scaled-down versions of a desktop screen will not.

  • Cluttered screens and hidden menus are a sign that a page was not designed for mobile devices. Look for a simple, easy to use experience without large graphics. Options for the user should be obvious, and not hidden behind menus. A good mobile design will use text in place of complex graphics. A splashy photo may be impressive on a large screen, but on a small one, it is annoying.
  • A mobile application should have a single function. Bloated multi-function applications will not perform well, and will degrade the user experience. A user should have one simple basic menu that launches the various apps a user needs.
  • Mobile users will not read long paragraphs of text. Shorten long job descriptions to a few spare lines with a link to the complete description. Don’t display your entire company history and philosophy. A few pithy statements will work much better.
  • A website should not require typing if you can avoid it. For job applications, investigate whether you can use social media profiles. Allow users to apply with profiles they have saved in your web application.
  • Do not ask users to verify their passwords. Typing it once is enough.

Do Your Homework

Nothing can replace the user experience. If you are evaluating vendors and have decided mobile is important, make sure you take the mobile experience through its paces. The user experience, over the long run, will be more important than function.


Fairchild, Micah. "The Overhyped HR Application—Part 1: Social HCM Technology." HR Lab. Accessed January 25, 2016. 

Joel Passon. "The Misinformation of Mobile Recruiting Statistics - Newton Software." Newton Software. April 20, 2015. Accessed January 25, 2016. 

"50 HR and Recruiting Stats That Make You Think." Glassdoor. Accessed January 25, 2015. 

"A Guide to the Ultimate Candidate Experience." Glassdoor for Employers. December 31, 2015. Accessed January 25, 2016.

Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.