How Performance Support Apps Are Faring In Today’s Workplaces

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THE QUOTE:

The incredible expansion of mobile technologies is an important factor that will both drive and support the deployment of workplace learning tools and systems in the area of performance support.” – Charles Jennings (Managing Director, Duntroon Associates, and Founder, 70:20:10 Forum)

The above quote is from our interview with Charles Jennings.

THE JOURNEY:

We all know… this is the age of mobile apps! These are revolutionizing all aspects (personal and professional) of our lives. They have started capturing their space in our workplaces too. Thanks to the ubiquitous nature of mobile devices and the amazing power fuelled by their ever-expanding features, mobile apps are enabling us perform at our workplaces in ways never imagined before! Therefore, it is quite natural for these to be touted as one of the best forms of performance support for today’s workplaces.

We, at Learnnovators, have been excited about leveraging this technology for workplace performance support (especially, in the context of ‘on-the-job learning’). We have been doodling about the possibilities this learning technique offers while developing cost effective and powerful mobile performance support solutions.

Recently, we conceived, designed and developed:

  • XL-Mill MPSS – a mobile-based bite-sized performance support solution (made up of quick, short instructional videos accompanied by Quick Reference Guides) that leverages the power of QR Codes
  • LearnQ – a mobile-based performance support app – a reference version of our Quality Management System (QMS) that provides an ubiquitous way to access the required information on the LMS while on the go

If you have been following us through our blogs, you would also be aware that we are in the process of developing:

  • An Internal App Store to assist our employees with performance support solutions (and make Learnnovators a great place to work)

Today, as we are contemplating on the options available for thought partnering with our clients on the further possibilities of designing performance support solutions using mobile phones at workplaces, we set out on a quick journey to see the latest trends on this topic to keep ourselves updated.

Below are the questions we had in mind when we embarked on our journey:

  • What are the possibilities offered by mobile technologies to make performance support powerful?
  • How are companies (big and small) around the world leveraging mobile technologies for performance support today? In what innovative ways are they using these app solutions? What are the results? What are the challenges?
  • What are the key trends? What is the future?
  • What are some of the useful resources available on this subject?

OUR FINDINGS:

Below are some of the interesting resources on this subject that we would like to share with you.

Researches/Studies

  • What are the six key areas for enterprise mobile architects in 2014?: This post (by Kate Williams) reviews the report published by enterprise software provider Verivo based on a survey conducted with enterprise architects at Global 2000 companies. It contains the ‘six big considerations’ enterprise architects need to take into account when developing apps. The report concludes that the enterprise mobility space is growing and, as a result, influencing what architects and developers are doing.
  • Enterprise mobility in 2014: App-ocalypse Now?: This brilliant article (by Charles McLellan of ZDNet) discusses in detail the opportunities and the challenges that today’s CIOs and IT managers are currently facing with respect to the big trends happening in the enterprise mobile application space. He extensively uses Gartner and Citrix survey findings on enterprise mobility in 2014 for supporting his views.
  • Global Survey Identifies Mobility as a Top Priority for the Enterprise: This global survey commissioned by Citrix presents some interesting insights into the mobility strategies of businesses around the globe. (Citrix polled a total of 1,700 senior IT decision-makers across 17 countries for this survey!) The report sheds light on the perceptions of mobility, its importance for companies and its perceived impact for improving flexibility, productivity and agility.
  • State of Mobile Application Development in the Enterprise: This slideshow is designed based on a recent survey (of 146 subscribers of Mobile Enterprise Magazine) conducted by moTwin, a provider of a mobile application development platform. The interesting statistics revealed by the survey suggest that the pace of development for mobile applications in the enterprise is proceeding slowly.

Use Cases & Stories

  • Qualcomm: Mobile-Friendly Learning: In this article (by Rita Pyrillis), Jenny Tsoulos, Director of Learning and Development at Qualcomm, explains his company’s strategy for ensuring its global workforce is getting the learning they need on the go. He helps us get a glimpse of the suite of interesting employee apps his organization has created for performance support (for onboarding, increasing productivity, and providing information on company culture).
  • Salesforce AppExchange: Must-Have Mobile Apps: This is a neat presentation that helps you take a look at Salesforce’s AppExchange, which has nearly 2,000 apps that help one connect to customers, employees, products and partners. The kind of apps (ideas) listed are brilliant and helpful for triggering more applications for our workplaces.
  • Xerox® ConnectKey® Apps and Xerox® App Studio: This presentation discusses Xerox® ConnectKey® Apps and Xerox® App Studio – the enterprise app solutions offered by the company. It is interesting to see how Xerox uses apps as solutions to address different kinds of problems and to enhance the functionality and value of their devices in creative ways.
  • A demo of two apps developed by Epic for the NHS: Take a look at ‘Adult Drug Calculations’ and ‘Compatibility of Injectable Medicines’ – the two apps Epic developed as part of a research project investigating the possible use of mobile learning within the NHS.
  • Brainvire Launches Corporate Mobile Application: This report is on the launch of Brainvire (a premier IT solutions company)’s corporate mobile app that provides real time information access on the go! The app provides quick access to the company’s services and products as well as other information. It also enables users to directly contact the company with a few taps.
  • Ford Apps for Your Mobile Device: These include highly innovative mobile apps from Ford such as Featured Ford Apps, Mustang Apps, Vehicle Tour Apps, and Test Drive Apps, all available on the App Store and the Google Play Store.
  • Mobile App Enables Data Center Managers to Work Remotely: Check this article (by Sam Shead) for an interesting story of Trellis – the mobile version of the data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) tool of Emerson Network Power (a provider of data centre software and hardware) – that helps UK data center managers do their job while on holiday anywhere in the world with just an Internet connection.
  • The Irresistible Rise of the Corporate App: An interesting article that takes a look at how two companies – Cryoserver (a London-based email archiving vendor) and Antenna (a New Jersey enterprise app company) – see the potential of the enterprise apps market.
  • The future of mobile learning in the workplace: Qualcomm Insights: What will mobile technologies and behaviours look five years from now? What should we educators be doing to prepare for this? This article from Geoff Stead (Head of Mobile Learning, Qualcomm) discusses how he, along with his team, is helping Qualcomm to position the learning technologies of the future.

Articles/Posts

  • How Mobile Apps Will Change Corporate Intranets: This article by Rich Wood (Director, Modern Applications at Perficient, Microsoft’s 2013 US Partner of the Year) discusses the compelling reasons for mobile platforms to take over desktops as the primary means for accessing information.
  • 6 ways to bring mobile apps into the enterprise fold: This article (by Joe McKendrickIn) discusses a new report from Accenture that recommends a formal structure for building and deploying enterprise mobile apps. As part of this, the consultancy recommends six considerations for app development.
  • How Apps Are Simplifying Corporate IT: This article (by Michael Kleinemier, President of Middle and Eastern Europe at SAP) discusses how today’s apps are helping simplify corporate IT.
  • 4 Reasons Why Corporate Apps are a Low Priority: This interesting article contains thoughts from Rick Sellers (Director and Senior Advisor at KW Digital) on what he believes are the major reasons for the downward trend of corporate apps. It is worth taking a look at the reasons why few companies are moving towards corporate apps.
  • Why aren’t employees using corporate apps?: This article (by Joranna) reviews The Employee Mobile App Satisfaction Report (from Mobiquity) that reveals that nearly 60 percent of employees ‘abandoned’ the corporate apps they were expected to use. The article looks into the risks associated with this scenario, and also discusses how enterprises can incentivize employees to use approved corporate apps.

OUR LEARNINGS:

As we came to the end of our search, we had the following learnings as ‘take-aways’ from our little journey:

  • Mobile performance support apps are not the future…They are happening today in many organisations in interesting ways. Mobile apps are evolving as effective and powerful performance support systems in place of the traditional approaches that we have been following at our workplaces. These powerful systems help augment learning and support in the workflow of employees, thereby encouraging ‘continuous learning’ that are device-, time-, and location-agnostic.
  • Though the scenario is encouraging with more and more companies getting into this bandwagon, the main challenges they face are related to lack of in-house expertise for building powerful performance support solutions tailor-made to their specific requirements. We foresee a greater role for L&D in this scenario to handle such challenges, and also to retain interest and motivation in employees to use these tools.
  • In spite of the challenges that are contributing to the slow growth of development, we foresee performance support apps evolving into an essential component of any enterprise learning toolbox in the near future. These solutions have the potential to evolve further to add many more ‘dimensions’ to the concept of performance support with emerging mobile technologies (such as Blue Tooth Low Energy and WiFi 4&5).

How are you leveraging mobile technologies for designing performance support solutions for your workplaces? What are your thoughts and experiences on this? What resources would you like to share on this subject?

We would love to hear.

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Written by Santhosh Kumar
Published on 28-Jun-2014

 

       

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