In early 2012, iPass reported a 30% rise in the number of work-related mobile devices carried by users over the preceding year. This is right in line with 2011 data from Cisco predicting that in 2015 the average North American will have 5.8 connected devices. Ironically, while many of these devices are meant to save time and improve efficiency, they end up doing exactly the opposite. Consider a ubiquitous, complex application such as Microsoft SharePoint. Using the native Web access to SharePoint on multiple devices is daunting. Due to differences in device form factors and browser variations, the user experience is disjointed and confusing, making it difficult for business users to adopt. Is it any wonder that business users resist adopting new platforms and applications?
If learning were the only issue, the situation might still be acceptable. Training is part of any job, after all. But for those who do adopt these fractious applications, other risks lie in wait. The act of having to juggle apps breaks concentration. Multi-tasking is often multi-distracting. Users really need one screen containing all of their active work, and then they need to simply stay there rather than bounce out to a host of associated or wholly different apps. To prove the point, software vendor harmon.ie conducted a survey last year and found that 53% of mobile users waste more than one hour each day on distractions. Among these, 23% get distracted in email processing, 10% take detours into unnecessary app switching, and 9% veer into personal tasks (Facebook, et. al.).
Staying productive is a paramount challenge. SharePoint was made in part as a way for distributed workgroups to collaborate for efficiently, but when that process breaks down, better solutions are needed. For example, SharePoint emphasizes centralized asset management and project organization. Document revision tracking is one of the application’s chief strengths. But such processes, already tricky in their own right, can become even more difficult on smaller screens, especially when app juggling is required. Users need a smooth, consistent experience that will keep them focused in a manner that is as intuitive as it is functional. One of the best solutions available for addressing this need and boosting adoption in the process is harmon.ie.
William Van Winkle has been a full-time tech writer and author since 1998. He specializes in a wide range of coverage areas, including unified communications, virtualization, cloud computing, storage solutions and more. William lives in Hillsboro, Oregon with his wife and 2.4 kids, and -- when not scrambling to meet article deadlines -- he enjoys reading, travel, and writing fiction.
See here for all of William's Tom's IT Pro articles.