Metrics that Matter for the Line of Business Mobile App

Consumer app metrics are straightforward: your app is built for an individual end user. If they like it, they’ll pay for it: either outright or with in-app purchases. The single significant metric is user experience because for a disgruntled user, a competitor’s app is only one click away.

An enterprise app is, in contrast, deployed to a captive audience. If employees are required to use it to support daily work requirements and to do business, it’s considered line-of-business.

Developers focus primarily on their stability, security and complexity, especially because they’re designed to have direct access to enterprise infrastructure and data. Features are aimed at addressing specific business pain points—for example, mobile ERP systems, prescription drug databases, CRM solutions. The end user, the end user experience, and the app’s usability in the field is rarely, if ever, taken into consideration.

That’s where your mobile analytics come in. The features you’ve outlined as essential in the project specs may be present and accounted for in the app, but are they being used? More importantly, is the app itself being used to conduct business or are your employees finding workarounds, cobbling together messy solutions or even worse, not using the app at all?

The only real, measurable way of determining the ROI of your line of business apps is to take a page from the consumer side of app development. User analytics need to be front and center. They’re the metrics that really matter in determining your app’s actual business impact. Is your app being used—and therefore producing results? Or is it a resource black hole? Are you wasting huge portions of your development budget on apps your users reject? How can you ensure your app spend is effective?

These are the metrics you need to keep front and center:

Active users. Keep tabs on how many users are opening your app and interacting with it. When your app simply isn’t being opened, you need to know. It usually boils down to a major disconnect between what your user wants and expects, and what your mobile application actually delivers.

Application loading. Are your applications hanging? How long is it taking to open your app? More importantly: how many application loads are aborted when users get frustrated by the time it takes?

Processing time. Once your user is in the app, how long does it take to load pages, process information and exchange data? Nielson research shows you’re interrupting user flow and reducing productivity when your app load speeds aren’t optimized, which directly impacts user experience and a user’s perception of your app.

Error and exception handing. This is an important metric for performance monitoring—but do you know how many of your errors are user-generated? This is important to determine possible critical user interface issues.

Session duration. How long do users spend inside your app? Are they getting work done, or are they logging out quickly? Which screens or pages seem to send them running?

You can’t just guess assume your expensive enterprise apps are worth the cost simply because you’ve deployed them to your users—or even that they’ll be used the way you envision. Real-time user data and usage in the field provide actionable insights that can help you refine your app strategy, focus your spend, and ensure your line of business apps really are supporting your business.

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About the Author: Michael Girdley