Please don’t make me a special mobile app to do approvals

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Building and investing in mobile applications is all the rage in 2011.  HR technology is no exception.  Inevitably, the question comes up “what HR processes would benefit from being mobilized?“  Or, as Bill Kutikoften asks “[what HR stuff] do I really need to do on a moving train?”

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Let me tell you that it is not approvals and pushing transactions through.  These are things that should not bring about any further thought or investment.  Your employees should be able to approve stuff and push emergency transactions through today on their mobile device because 1) you have a way to enable VPN connection on your mobile devices and 2) you have approvals hooked into standard workflow processes that are available to employees via VPN, email, etc.  There is absolutely no additional value to creating a special mobile app to do these things.

The emerging mobile tools that will be most valuable will be the ones that enable new processes and interactions.  It will be about finding information, connecting to people, and exploring and interacting with data.  It may be that you deploy these processes first on a mobile device (and then circle back and provide similar capability on laptop/desktop) because there is so much to be gained from optimizing ad hoc processes based on where you are in the moment.  Do not limit your thinking to “converting” to mobile; instead, consider what would be most usefully done via mobile.

Bottom line: the best and most useful mobile investments will be based on new, emerging processes; not on mobilizing current transactional processes.

Your POV: what new, emerging (perhaps manual) process could benefit from mobile?  And, which ones will you avoid?

photo: mobile app generator available on amazon.com

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