Any new technology will pose challenges at some point, even when it is well designed and properly implemented. Mobile technologies are no exception.
Mobile technology, by its very nature can bring about complex challenges. BYOD tops the list of these challenges. Consider the fundamental differences among the various mobile operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, HTML5 and, occasionally, Blackberry). Each of these platforms require a different approach to arrive at a common user experience. Here are a few examples to illustrate our point:
- App permissions: While Android resembles the “Opt-out” Experience, iOS is “Opt in.” In other words, iOS apps require the user to “allow access” (that little pop-up ‘App X would like to access your contact’) and Android by default has access to everything and requires users to “disallow” those permissions.
- User engagement: iOS tends to be more organic and less transactional than Android. For example iOS relies on the app badge to indicate that there is new activity to act on. Android uses the top bar indicators to drive users to open the notification tray.
- Restrictive access vs Open platform: iOS limits access to many of the features that Apple has while Android goes above and beyond by integrating into its own apps.
As we illustrated above, there are many moving parts in mobile technology (like any other technology), which makes it subject to failure of being misunderstood by some of its users and system administrators. When this happens, the reliability of your mobile strategy and mobile solutions depends on a solid support infrastructure that is consistent, predictable and always available.
At law firms, most of the IT budget goes to support operations. There are few pieces of technology that go directly into the hands of the attorneys. Mobility is one of those few. We recently wrote about how law firms have few chances to get mobility right. If the experience is poor or substandard, attorneys will stop using the app. In this case, you’ve not only wasted their time and yours, but they will go back to the “traditional” way of doing things.
This is why Apps as a Service must be the mindset when considering implementing a mobile solution for your firm.
In this blog, we will review the Apps as a Service principles and why it is key to success when choosing and implementing a mobile solution for your firm:
- User Centric: Apps as a Service are based on the belief that "less is more." It is all about providing an exceptional user experience without overwhelming the user. It comes from understanding what it is like to be in another’s shoes.
- Any device, Everywhere: Apps as a Service are designed to be used from any mobile device or desktop. At the same time, it remains faithful to the user experience and leverages what the mobile platform has to offer. Therefore, it successfully removes any barriers that may exist between the attorney the device.
- Less Features: The days of "the more buttons, the better the app is” are long gone. Apps as a Service understands that it is not a race for more features. It is based on the principle that the Apps that isolate complexity will win with the user.
- Support is what users will remember: Apps as a Service are associated with exceptional customer service and user support experiences with exceptional products. Attorneys depend more than ever on their mobile devices to do their jobs. In such a fast paced work environment, attorneys have the ability (and the expectation!) to work anytime. Therefore, they will expect that support is available when they need it.
- Engagement: Apps as a Service are defined by “mobile empathy.” Getting closer to, and understanding the mobile user is the only way to drive adoption.
- Social Factor: Mobility is now an open and social world – take advantage of that. Apps as a Service are driven by user feedback and reviews. Don’t just trust what the vendors say about their mobile solution, read the reviews. Also, see what the users have to say.
Apps as a Service demands that users become the focal point of the design and execution, which includes support. Forget the do-it-all “swiss-army knife” apps. They are far more prone to fail, because they only distract the user. Great usability, user support and reliability is what users will truly remember.
In order to provide an exceptional user experience and support it, firms must start with their executive leadership team and follow an uncompromised advocacy to its users. Just the technical know-how by itself cannot ensure a successful outcome, let alone adoption of the mobile solution. If you think an App is just an App, you can now think twice about that.
If you believe mobile technology and mobile solutions will enable your firm to step into the leading-edge of technology and drive growth and profitability, Apps as a Service will make the difference.