5 ways to accelerate adoption of internal enterprise applications

Yousra Mahros, May 2021

The adoption of internal applications in companies has become one of the new key challenges for IT departments. Digital transformation is driving a 17% annual growth in new enterprise applications, with an average of 1200 internal applications. How can we continue to develop and maintain so many applications if they are not adopted by users?

The consequences of poor adoption are often very harsh. In some industries, such as CRM, 83% of managers say their biggest challenge is getting their teams to use their internal applications. Or 22% of application deployment and success problems are related to human and user adoption issues.

1. Solve the onboarding problem with a UX-centric approach

User onboarding is often done through tutorials, tooltips, or documentation. These elements are very important but should be limited to the first time users get started and should not require more than a few clicks. The only time we see onboarding elements on Google Drive or Facebook is during the first use, or during updates (we will come back to this point later).

Your users are used to BtoC applications that focus on user experience. Often the share of expenses related to design and UX for these actors are much more important than in BtoB companies. Moreover, Silicon Valley investors are increasingly looking for founding teams composed of a business, a tech and a UX designer.

Think your product to be intuitive and pleasant to use with a user-centric approach!

2. Limit the number of features, develop for all users of your internal applications

The figures are clear: 50% of the functionalities are not used on internal enterprise applications. Not only does this pose a budgetary problem, but it also drowns the user in numerous possibilities that are not necessarily useful and too often put forward.

To avoid this, it is necessary to include all users in the development process as early as possible and to co-build the application with them in order to ensure that the internal applications meet their needs. Agile development, although not adapted to all types of projects, goes in this direction. The sprint division allows a lot of feedback, but this is too often done in small groups with the “key users” who are not necessarily the most concerned by the internal applications. Talk to all your users as soon as possible!

3. Communicate about new features and get feedback

We’ve all experienced a screen similar to this one one morning when we turned on our computer, and it wasn’t the best start to our day. Fortunately, SaaS solves this problem.

If you are updating features, you need to keep your internal application users informed so that they are not surprised by a change, and so that they can give you feedback on the new features. This way, if there is a problem, you are quickly informed and thanked if it improves your daily life.

4. Define the needs with all your users

A study showed that 80% of IT teams spend at least 50% of their time reviewing features they have already developed on internal applications. In addition to representing a significant financial loss, this is a particularly important waste of time for very busy resources. In order to avoid these problems, it is essential to include as many users as possible in the development of new features. Here again, Agile allows you to gain a lot in terms of proximity and feedback with the users, but be careful not to put only the key users in the loop.

5. Continuously listen to your community

You are creating (or have created) internal applications that can sometimes be critical in the day of your users. SaaS has brought this agility of continuous improvement. Moreover, in agile we no longer talk about projects but about products, in other words there is no more end. By creating this application you have created a community of users who, because you have included them in the development, are ready to participate in its continuous improvement. This is what will make your product successful in the long run and your users satisfied. Moreover, the power of the community drastically multiplies the number of exchanges and the feeling of belonging allows other users to participate in the order of 30%.

Sources : 

https://www.standishgroup.com/sample_research_files/Modernization.pdf