From enabling work at any location, through improving cooperation, up to reducing time spent on repetitive tasks - when it comes to internal business operations, digital applications can bring great results.
No wonder that most successful enterprises have already upgraded their suites to include business-to-employee (B2E) apps. However, the hardest part is not just about building such an app but rather figuring out the right way to do it.
Let's take a closer look at some key determinants that should be carefully considered during the development of successful B2E products:
1. Get your people involved
Since everything starts with your employees, they are the foundation of your app. Their engagementis key at the earliest stages of the app development in order to solve real issues and satisfy real needs of the organization. When developing a strategy for your B2E app, you must start with the problem, not the solution. First, examine your organization’s goals, recognize the underlying business processes and workflow, and gather input from people. Getting employees engaged will successfully increase your chances for a smooth adoption of your new app.
2. Choose the right platform
Technology-wise, the foremost step in building a B2E app is always to choose the right platform. In general, the more platforms your app needs to be made for, the higher the development costs. Native apps for Android or iOS are usually characterized by faster performance and better security, but the development cycle can take up considerable time.
Hybrid platforms, on the other hand, can help you reduce cost and time-to-market, as you will be developing a common application for all mobile platforms at once. If you have a limited budget and a short timeframe, the hybrid platform is a great option, especially with technologies such as React Native or Flutter.
Choosing the right tech stack allows you to get the expected results as well as better maintain your app and scale it in the future if needed.
3. Limit the scope
Remember not to tackle all your organization’s problems at once by creating an overly complicated application. Instead, focus on mobilizing just a few major processes. Take the example of RL360°, a global assurance company, who reached out to intive to create a supporting app for its sales advisers. The company’s general goal was to improve business efficiency through the transformation of its paper-based sales processes into digital ones.
Having a huge range of products, RL360 chose to streamline internal processes with the new app step by step. Therefore, they started with just one of their savings products and focused on developing the features that deliver the key benefits for their employees. Limiting the scope helped RL360° avoid unnecessary technical complexities and risks, as well as keep the initial costs of development down. After the first quick success, the company could efficiently upgrade and refine the current app.
4. Design friendly UI
UI design is the face of an app – it’s responsible for the first impressions and the employees’ willingness to use the tool, so it’s super important! Don’t hesitate to hire professional UX designers, who will help you understand the target audience and create the best app experience. Always ensure that your employees can easily understand the app’s flow and navigation. A customer-centric, interactive and intuitive design keeps your employees interested, simplifies the user journey and increases the overall ROI.
5. Get a proof of concept
Before the creation of a new B2E app, we advise you to test out your hypotheses through rapid prototyping and work on a proof of concept. Consider creating an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and sharing it with a user testing focus group first to validate assumptions.
Esprit, a global fashion brand, developed their completely new app for sales associates following exactly those steps. Together with intive’s developers, Esprit was able to prepare a user-friendly and low-cost MVP version of the Order@Store app within a timeframe of less than 6 months! The product was then tested by its early users in 20 Austrian Esprit stores. After a promising trial, Esprit introduced the app to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands. In the next iteration, the app will be fitted with 5 more languages and support even more Esprit stores across Europe.
6. Gather feedback
Keep in mind that with all the changing trends, your app will probably need some enhancements in the future. Consider the best ways for gathering insights from your employees, as their feedback will be the starting point for further improvement. For example, it can be helpful to make use of some cutting-edge technologies, such as predictive analytics (along with AI and machine learning) to understand your employees' experience and identify areas for upgrading.
To sum up, there’s no one specific recipe for a great B2E app. Even so, we hope that the tips mentioned above will help you find inspiration for building an app that will make a special impression on your employees and become a game-changer for your business.