Given the challenges created when employees use personal devices for workplace communication, companies must take the time to explore all of their BYOD options. After all, whatever solution is chosen will have to do more than just address company concerns. It must be something that the employees will actually use.
So what does an effective Bring Your Own Device solution look like? It has to be more than a neat-looking app. It needs to actually be functional. We came up with four requirements of any top-line mobile app.
- It must closely mimic the phone experiences employees are used to. Recognizing that employees — whether they’re working remotely or in an office — are unlikely to abandon their personal phones, the challenge is how to extend all of the functionality of a company’s phone system to an individual’s mobile device. In other words, it’s a question of integrating the habits people have developed using their personal phones into daily business operations in a way that gives the company a visual representation of all of the calls made and received and allows the company to maintain ownership of the contact information. It is also important to provide these business functions in a way that is not cumbersome for employees and requires little or no training. It has to be seamless and familiar.
- Its features must simplify functionality. Adoption of new applications, especially for business purposes is often low due to usability. Employees are comfortable with familiarity and often are set in their ways. That’s the reason businesses are exploring BYOD options in the first place. One way to encourage and drive adoption of the BYOD app is to make sure that it actually makes tasks easier and offers a familiar user experience
- It needs to address real business needs. A BYOD solution needs to be more than something that appeases demanding employees. A business phone application must add value to the employees’ ability to be more productive or collaborate better. If employees are in the field with customers, they want to make sure that other important calls can reach them no matter their location. They want to make sure they never miss another important customer call. In addition, the application needs to be able to help them view the availability and accessibility of those that are in the office. There is nothing worse than being on the road and having to call that one important person back at the office, only to find out you don’t have their phone number handy. A simple mobile online directory that offers presence and availability can improve productivity and define a great customer experience.
- It needs to be reliable. There’s nothing more frustrating for employees than to be told that they have to use a certain piece of technology and then have that technology perform unreliably. That’s especially true when it comes to something as important as a phone system. Employees know that their desk phone is going to work. They need to have the same confidence that their mobile app will also perform to their expectations. It’s this reliability combined with the improved employee experience that will lead to increased adoption and increased productivity.
No longer bound by geography, companies are increasingly turning to technology in order to ensure their employees are both happy and productive. Meeting the expectations of workers who want increased flexibility while also achieving the sort of business results companies expect requires sophisticated and always-evolving technology solutions. But with the right apps, employees can download the freedom they want while employers maintain the control they need.