Mobile & Cloud-Based Collaboration: Adoption Is The New ROI

Recently, I had the pleasure of being the Mobile Cloud conference track chairperson at the inaugural Chicago Cloud Connect event in September. At the event, the presenters in my track discussed a wide range of topics. One of the most interesting presentations was by Julie O’Brien from, a cloud-based content delivery platform, who discussed mobile and collaboration. She pointed out that the new worker has multiple devices, no patience for complexity, and the ability to access information in a number of ways.

She shared several interesting scenarios where mobile and cloud technologies are transforming collaboration in a wide range of industries, from the corporate boardroom to aviation to healthcare. These examples include:

1. Secure boardroom: Businesses are replacing binders with secure documents on tablets.

2. Paperless aviation: Airlines are replacing the heavy black briefcase of flight maps with tablets.

3. Mobile collaboration: Construction crews can use tablets to access content and reach out to experts from the field.

4. Augmented reality: Utility field technicians use augmented reality apps to overlay detailed information of electrical facilities on a map.

5. Healthcare point of care:  Healthcare providers are using mobile and collaboration tools to improve patient health at the point of care.

6. Point of sale: Using mobile and cloud content to provide a better customer experience at the point of sale.

These are great examples of what I’ve called right-time experiences that use mobile and context to provide the customer or employee with the right information at the point of need. My favorite lines of the presentation were “Simplicity isn’t the enemy of the enterprise” and “Adoption is the new ROI.”

It is so often the case that we forego simplicity for maximum functionality when we design applications and services. How often does the user need maximum functionality? For example, how many people use all of the features in Microsoft Word? My best guess is that only people within the publishing world use the application to its fullest.

The same has become true as enterprises look to build new mobile solutions. In collaboration, as with any mobile application, the designer should be asking if this app/process provides the one or two functions needed.  Is it as usable as a consumer app? Can I secure the data without crippling the experience? If you can answer yes to each of these questions, the app or service you’ve built could gain adoption. If not, you have little chance of driving meaningful use. If your employees aren’t using it, it doesn’t matter how great the features are or how cheap it was. As Ms. O’Brien said, “Adoption is the new ROI.”

Are your apps simple, focused, and functional? Will they stand up to the Adoption ROI test? Do you have tips to share about developing apps that will be readily adopted?

Maribel Lopez is the CEO and mobile market strategist for Lopez Research, a market research and strategy consulting firm that specializes in communications technologies with a heavy emphasis on the disruptive nature of mobile technologies. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.

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