The classic struggle between your IT department and your end users has always originated in governance. Because, let’s face it: Someone has to set limits on what can and can’t be done through a company app, as well as who has and doesn’t have access to different sets of data.
As the IT professional, you know apps have limits, but you also recognize that no amount of governance – large or small – matters if the apps aren’t used as the tools they ultimately are.
Mobility, the cloud, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and connected devices have all contributed to an explosion of useful and accessible business applications, but they also warrant the development of a thorough governance plan. Although governing the diverse uses of any application throughout its life cycle is an integral element of proper use, governance “guard rails” can’t just prevent decay and guide employee usage.
To move forward and grow, your company needs to enact governance policies that promote user adoption, enhance user experience (UX) and maintain quality simultaneously. These tips will help you envision and form a plan that can accomplish all three of these critical objectives.
The limits you put into governance should aim to secure information, but also still allow users to explore the platform. So don’t set artificial limits that hinder user creativity, and keep rules flexible enough for employees to actually perform tasks efficiently while still maintaining security.
Avoid creating a “catch-all” governance plan. Instead, do your research. Since apps are made for people to use, they can only be incorporated effectively when you ask the people who will be using them what they need and want. You might be surprised at the response, as you discover how some of your intended rules don’t apply because the users don’t need the particular feature the rule was meant to govern.
Speaking of that “catch-all” mentality, ditch it in favor of developing user adoption through continued engagement. Keep user expectations and UX in mind, and follow up periodically with users to see what’s working for them and which improvements can be made. Schedule interviews, administer surveys or simply ask, “How’s that app working out for you?”
You’ll likely delight your users because you’re displaying a genuine interest in them, and you’ll benefit from being on the receiving end of their answers and actionable insights.
Once you’ve devised the initial governance plans, avoid “tech-speak” and use clear language your everyday users will understand. Obviously you shouldn’t dumb it down to grade school-level, but don’t expect every company employee to know the nuances of technical language automatically. Going the extra mile to make the information more accessible means they’ll be more likely to use the apps correctly, since your plan will be easy to follow.
No one wants to wade through pages of eight-point font in single-space paragraphs just to find out how to sign in to an app. Organize the governance plan into digestible chunks that make it simple for users to find what they need. Because the easier it is to scan for relevant information quickly, the less likely you’ll be answering the phone to provide what should be intuitive guidance.
As much as possible, provide examples “in context” so users will be able to apply the recommendations and guidelines in the governance plan immediately. This avoids those, “It took me half an hour to find out that all I had to do was…” moments that raise everyone’s blood pressure.
Everyone is happier and more productive when they have apps they can actually use that also enrich user experience. End the battle of the governance plan, and increase user adoption by keeping these points in mind as you develop adaptable governance plans for your company apps.