What’s Keeping Employees from Using SaaS Vendors’ Mobile Apps?

  • May 6, 2019,
  • By Jay Hinman
smartphone apps

Anyone who’s taken on a new job in an enterprise over the last ten years knows that there’s always a whole slew of new systems to learn over those first weeks. Increasingly, these are SaaS applications, each with their own unique logins, interfaces and workflows. These are a company’s core HR systems; their travel and expense reporting systems; customer service desks; ticketing resolution systems; procurement & purchasing systems, and so on.

Getting up and running on new systems comes with the territory of any new job, and yet the complexity of doing so is now compounded by the fact that SaaS solutions also now come with their own mobile apps, downloadable from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Precious real estate on an employee’s own personal device now needs to be gobbled up by the likes of SAP Concur, Ariba, Slack, ServiceNow, Coupa, Salesforce and the many other SaaS apps we use for the myriad ways we conduct daily business in the modern enterprise.

While companies can generally push internal programs to ensure adoption of SaaS apps on the company-provided desktop computers that live within their walls, they often struggle with employee adoption on mobile. In fact, Capriza’s customers – many of whom are 100% SaaS-based and run all their core software in the cloud – tell us that adoption of SaaS mobile apps within their employee base is a paltry 15-20%.

Why is this? There’s one obvious reason: the disconnect between the desktop computer (usually owned and provided by the employer) and the mobile device (usually owned and provided by the employee). That aside, a common complaint among SaaS users are that they really can’t do on the mobile app what they can on the web or desktop app. Take a look at some of the mobile app reviews in the app stores for certain popular SaaS products, and depending on the app, it can often tell a pretty grim tale. SaaS mobile apps often take snippets of functionality from the greater, fully-functional app, and compress them down into what’s often assumed to be manageable mobile-optimized components. This “second-class status” also often makes them stepchildren at best, and complete afterthoughts at worst when it comes to ongoing IT development and attention – making it near-impossible to drive mobile adoption within the enterprise if they’re not doing what they’re supposed to.

The flipside of this problem is that SaaS mobile apps can actually be too robust for users, when only certain, limited functionality is really needed. This makes them too frustratingly complex to navigate in this smaller, mobile form factor. Many users of these apps just want to casually dip in and dip out to review items and approve requests. These employees might leave the app icons sitting on their phones, yet save the work they need to do in the SaaS application for the next time they’re on the desktop, even when they’re being pinged with notifications that attempt to drive them to complete their work on mobile.

Reversion to the SaaS Status Quo

This reversion to the “status quo” is just human nature. As Jerry, the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at a broadcast media company, says in our white paper Four Perspectives on Digital Transformation: Leaders Share Lessons Learned:

“We do a great job on-boarding and training people for timesheets, expense reports, and so on. But once they’re actually doing their jobs and real work, those things become a drag. We try to keep an eye on the user experience. How can we make life easier for employees? But it can be a struggle to actually move the needle on improving things. Again, the status quo has a lot of momentum in organizations of this size.”

Having your employees fumbling through 10 different SaaS apps on their phones to do their jobs is not a good experience – particularly when so many of these apps really deliver value across your employee base in one core, essential area they hold in common: approvals. These are approvals for expenses, time off, purchases, contracts and so on. This is where the need for consolidation is great, and where, as Richard says, life can be made easier for employees while also moving the needle on organizational improvement. One of our customers tells us that with so many apps competing for his attention (and with some SaaS apps not having a mobile option at all), he’s forced to put off his batch of approvals for a later time, and complete them all at once on desktop.

Multiple logins and complex workflows that don’t quite work on mobile are why enterprises only see 15-20% adoption of their mobile SaaS apps. When there are dozens of applications and approval types, approvals get lost in email and are slowed down – resulting in late fees, delayed collections, compliance risks and dissatisfied employees. Managers with a hefty amount of approvals decide to punt, and wait until they’re back in the office – or worse, back from vacation – to approve what should be so easy to approve right now.

At Capriza, we know a few things about mobility. Our ApproveSimple solution, which is a consolidated and simplified experience for all your approvals using your existing SaaS applications, grew out of 7+ years of experience mobilizing workflows from enterprises’ existing web-enabled corporate applications. ApproveSimple elegantly bridges approvals in one place, across mobile, desktop and even Slack and Microsoft Teams – wherever your employees happen to spend their time.

It’s the sort of SaaS solution that can actually become not merely a competitive advantage, but even a hiring advantage as well. Take it from Richard, the Head Administrator at an Outpatient Surgery Center whom we talked to in this digital transformation white paper:

“We think that with the right system in place and investments in training we can make our day-to-day tooling a hiring advantage. As in, ‘You can go work there on a clumsy system, or you can come work here where things are state-of-the-art’.”

Sign up here for a quick demonstration of Capriza’s ApproveSimple, or visit our resources for more information on how ApproveSimple can immediately simplify the mobile SaaS experience, while improving your company’s approvals across the board.

Jay Hinman

Jay Hinman is the VP of Marketing at Capriza, focused on helping organizations achieve greater business agility and faster decision cycles by accelerating approvals.


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