By January 23, 2015 1 Comments Read More →

Bridging The Gap Between Mobile Product Development And Customer Experience

 

So far, enterprise mobility has been a big fail. Even though employees are unabashedly devoted to their mobile devices, companies have spent billions doing little more than investing in device defense management solutions to mobilize email. As remarkable as it sounds, most enterprises offer only three or fewer mobile work apps beyond the usual email, calendar and contacts management. Contrast that with the hundreds of work apps typically seeded on desktops, and you’ll begin to understand magnitude of the business imperative. And the opportunity being squandered is enormous. Top companies who have successfully committed to enterprise mobile see up to 20 percent higher revenue growth on average and report more than twice the revenue per employee.

Why are mobile apps so effective –and popular? Essentially, it boils down to the experience. A great mobile app is purposeful, easy-to-use and fun. That’s one of the main reasons customer experience design topics are among the fastest growing interest areas by our clients. After all, today’s empowered consumers are more discerning and have more choices than ever before. Any company that wants to maintain a competitive edge and deliver a customer experience that drives revenue needs to better connect its product and its brand promise. Or course, that’s simple to say… but difficult to execute.

Catherine Courage,  senior vice president of customer experience at Citrix,

Catherine Courage, senior vice president of customer experience at Citrix.

Catherine Courage, the senior vice president of customer experience at Citrix, is an expert in this area, and I had a conversation with her recently about what IT and line of business leaders can do to start bridging the gap between product development and customer experience. Mark Templeton, the company’s president and CEO, brought her on board in 2009 to focus on product design and development. But Courage’s position quickly evolved as she and Templeton realized that a great product was just the first step in creating an exceptional customer experience.

“Even as a child, I was very curious, someone who always asked ‘why.’ ‘Why did they do that?’ Or, ‘Why is that design like that?’ So, I was excited to join Citrix at a time when it was transforming from a company that was traditionally known as an IT backend infrastructure company to one that was putting more and more products into end users hands,” Courage told me. “However, from very early on, it became clear that if we were going to be serious and successful about customer experience, our approach had to be broader than products alone. We had to be very much focused on every single touch point the customer has.”

Courage considers her journey at Citrix to be a reflection of shifts now happening across the business landscape overall, and she was eager to share lessons she has learned along the way. Based on our conversation, I identified these seven imperatives to help you become more customer-centric:

Evolve your definition of brand experience.

Recognize that today’s brand experience is complex, involving multiple customer touchpoints –from visiting a website for the first time to downloading a trial… and all the way through support and renewals.

“Today, you want customers for life, and you want customer loyalty. It’s not just about one transaction in time,” Courage said.

Plus, it’s not just about the buyer or the end user, either. Brand experience involves employees and partners, too.

“We also talk about creating great experiences for our partners who are a huge part of our ecosystem, and also for our employees,” Courage added. “We believe that the experiences our employees have should be just as good as the ones that we’re trying to deliver to our external partners and customers.”

Understand that mobility is key.

The workplace has evolved, so stop framing solutions around yesterday’s technology. Instead, work to truly know your users, their tools and their practices. Consider real business and human outcomes.

“Businesses need to transition. They need to empower people to do their work on a variety of different devices from different locations; otherwise, they’re going to be chasing things down and possibly putting themselves in situations where there could be real security issues,” Courage explained. “We used to be able to just deliver technology to desktops. Now, we have to understand this whole ecosystem of different kinds of users, the kinds of tasks they’re doing, the kinds of different devices they use. I don’t want to just deploy technology, I want to deploy solutions that are going to make my customer base, who are the employees within the organization, really happy, really successful, really productive.”

More and more, those solutions involve mobility.

“Work is no longer a physical place. People are working in a variety of locations, and there really is an expectation of being able to access for information or data in their applications from any location and on any device,” Courage said. “For your business to be successful, you need to make the people in the business productive and successful, and today there’s no doubt that a huge aspect of empowering that is the mobility of employees.”

Step up to compete with the consumer world.

The IT marketplace is competitive –and getting more so all the time. As a result, if a user doesn’t like a particular system or application that’s available at work, it’s likely he/she can download a different tool off the web. That’s why you need to deliver solutions that people actually want to use; if you don’t, users will continue to go around you to find the solutions they prefer.

“Again, mobility is a big part of this,” Courage said. “Mobility means different kinds of spaces and places that you can work within your office, but also means working on the road and transitioning from space to space, or it could mean working from home. People want that, it makes them more productive, and employers are recognizing that they’re getting more out of their employees by doing this, so it’s this huge win-win. Also, there’s growing recognition that many in this generation of workers are coming with their own Android device, or their own tablet, or maybe they want to use a MacBook. They don’t want to use corporate issued devices.”

Which leads directly to the next imperative…

Don’t Own Stuff (DOS).

Courage described DOS (“Don’t Own Stuff”) as a “huge” mindshift for IT organizations.

“Employees, especially younger employees, don’t want your black box laptop,” she said. “They want to bring the cool device that they use and they know.”

But won’t that be a nightmare for IT? How can all those different devices be managed and supported?

“What we have found is that in many respects, support calls go down because people know how to use these devices. They’re really familiar with them, and they know how to troubleshoot them,” Courage answered. “When you DOS, employees don’t need to rely on you as much, and as an IT organization, you remove the headache and cost of managing IT-issued devices.”

As you can see from these first four imperatives, mobility is changing all the rules –and it’s just getting started. So, stay tuned. Next week, I’ll finish this list of seven, and I’ll discuss what success looks like in these areas.

This point originally appeared on Bob Egan’s Things Mobile Blog at Forbes.com http://www.forbes.com/sites/bobegan/

Read on for Part 2:

An Insiders Take: 7 Mobile Imperatives for IT and Business Leaders

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