Chief Information Officers (CIOs) everywhere want to create a more digital workplace – one that reinforces IT as a strategic business function, and a function that creates opportunities for the business, says Brendan McAravey, Regional Director, Sub-Saharan Africa Citrix.

Its implementation aims to streamline the IT environment, reducing complexity and improving the experience for end users. While digital transformation involves all areas of the business, one of the most impactful places to focus on is an enterprise application (app) strategy.

South African companies are increasingly making use of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), cloud and blockchain to enable their business processes. However, the backbone of this uptake in new technologies is an enterprise app strategy to successfully implement this adoption.

Rethinking an application strategy doesn’t just mean moving away from legacy systems and implementing new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions. It essentially means taking a  look at what your employees do on a day-to-day basis, and determining what would make them most successful.

Citrix has identified five tips to create an enterprise app strategy that will help your employees work smarter and more efficiently.

Assess how employees get their best, most productive work done

A successful enterprise application strategy is developed with inputs from across the organisation. It’s important to consider where and how your employees spend their time. Think about all of the channels, such as devices, apps, and tools, that employees use to do their jobs. Enterprise apps and data should be accessible from all of the different channels your employees use in order to simplify how they access information and to drive work productivity and engagement, and ultimately their employee experience.

Think micro to boost employee engagement

Rather than focusing on bloated app development projects that are slow to complete, IT should focus on delivering simpler solutions to complex problems. Employees get distracted by (and simply delay completing) complicated workflows that seem to have no end or require constant context switching. Instead, employees want the most urgent part of their workflow delivered to them so they can get it done quickly.

They then want to receive a notification for the next portion of the project that needs completion. This helps them focus on smaller, more manageable chunks of work, which can be completed quickly. The result is greater employee engagement and productivity.

Personalise everything to drive user adoption

 Too often, employees are presented with far too much data to make a decision. Instead, they would prefer to access only a subset of data that has been personalised to their specific needs. Think about the apps you use in your personal life. LinkedIn and Twitter, for example, personalise and deliver content based on your preferences and search history.

You receive push notifications for things that need immediate attention (or are perceived as very important) and then you have the option to check your customised feed during downtime to see what you missed. Enterprise apps should take the same approach to create an engaging experience that drives adoption and productivity.

Use machine learning and AI

Employees spend more than 15% of their time searching for information across different tools to perform important tasks, and needless to say, this is no longer acceptable. Machine learning and AI can make it much easier for employees to find enterprise information. Machine learning can overcome the roadblocks that keep employees from getting the information they need to do their jobs, such as information siloes and unstructured data, by providing employees the exact data they need when they need it.

It can monitor past information needs to surface what’s important to the individual worker, or it can go even further and monitor for important changes in your business systems and surface personalised updates before employees even know they need them. While these digital workspace technologies are still emerging, many companies are exploring them to simplify how their teams work.

Start small to transform employee experience

Rolling out new systems and applications to transform the way your company works will be a daunting task. So start small with high-value use cases, and prioritise the apps and the workflows that will have an immediate impact on your employees and the business. Then, as you see results, you can focus on expanding the use cases — and the number and types of apps — that will benefit from a new way of doing things.

While there are many components of an enterprise app strategy that can work for a business, these steps will help you create one that drives work productivity, employee engagement, and a better employee experience.

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