How Enterprise Apps Should Be More Like Consumer Apps

Carl Weinschenk
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To SaaS or Not to SaaS: 2015 Enterprise App Outlook

Enterprise apps are a hot item. I wrote a recent feature that cited research from appFigures, Kinvey and Frost & Sullivan that, in a variety of ways, pointed to the growth in interest on the parts of both developers and their clients.

QuinStreet Enterprise, which publishes IT Business Edge, has released survey research that reveals an important finding: The user interface (UI) and related ease-of-use features are very high (if not at the top) of the list of important elements in the success of an enterprise app. The survey, “2015 Enterprise Applications Outlook: To SaaS or not to Saas” (free download with registration) said that the key features for enterprise users are easy implementation, smooth integration with existing technology and good security.


Of course, the UI and related usability features are not the only important element of a successful enterprise app. GigaOm takes on the topic of testing, going into significant detail on tools available to automatically test iOS and Android enterprise apps. But the key point is that the life of an enterprise app is far longer than that of a consumer app and, therefore, the testing regime has to be more extensive:

Traditionally enterprises make platform decisions that last years or even decades. Much longer than the typical half-life of a mobile app in the app store which could be a short as three months.

CMS Wire explores the differences between consumer and enterprise apps. A non-technical difference is that an enterprise app demands many more approvals. The main message of the piece, however, is that though enterprise apps are aimed at utilitarian and non-fun purposes, developers shouldn’t disregard style or avoid adding “a bit of charm” during the design phase. In that way, the piece fits very nicely with the QuinStreet research.

Enterprise apps are proliferating as a category. There is a duality about them: In some ways, they are exactly like consumer apps. In other ways, they are very different.

Apps1

The main similarity is that they won’t be utilized if they aren’t inviting and user friendly. Indeed, this may be even more the case simply because the use of a consumer app is something that the user wants and chooses to do. Enterprise apps are work-related and no doubt more readily abandoned.

The difference is in the construction and lifespan of the apps. They must be capable of linking to the organization’s back end, have enterprise-grade security, be stable enough to last for a very long time and, in general, be more capable in many ways than their consumer cousins.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.



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