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COVID-19 requires a different app approach

COVID-19 requires a different app approach

AfricaAnalysisDigital TransformationIndustry ExpertMobileTop Stories
How can businesses remain flexible during the pandemic?

Lorna Hardie, Regional Director at VMware Sub-Saharan Africa, explains how businesses can remain flexible during the pandemic.

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic gave impetus to the rapid deployment of digital solutions to enable remote working, many organisations are struggling with the lack of face-to-face engagement. This highlights how it is not simply a matter of giving employees Internet access and cloud-based solutions to remain productive, but about reinventing how Digital Transformation is done.

And this is where the customer experience becomes central to the new normal. Of course, it is not only about meeting external customer expectations, but also internal ones. And by this, the focus is on how employees experience their workplace, whether this is a completely remote one or a hybrid where some time is spent at the office. The growth in global smartphone adoption has resulted in significant opportunities for applications to revitalise business operations. Research estimates that the worldwide market for mobile apps will grow almost 21% annually from 2020 to 2024.

App explosion

As can be expected, there has been an explosion in demand and usage of apps around video chat and online conferencing, online shopping, healthcare and media and entertainment. People are looking for more innovative ways of managing their lives during and post-lockdown. Modern apps that enable them to do so will be key to unlocking the potential of a new wave of Digital Transformation efforts.

In the early days of lockdown, the use of business apps saw unprecedented growth in countries like China, South Korea, Japan and the US. As the lockdown conditions spread and lengthened, other countries became increasingly dependent on these apps to remain operational from an organisational perspective.

But in addition to delivering a more integrated user experience between the employee and the employer, and the customer and the business, modern apps require consistency across every channel. Whether this is on the Web, mobile phones and tablets or even a desktop, people need to know that they can get the same things done irrespective of the device they use. This requires a fresh take on the processes behind a business app and optimising them in a way that makes for a new operating environment.

Design thinking

This is where a design thinking approach for an app enables the organisation to distil the core value while identifying the optimal workflow it provides. Design thinking has been developed to creatively solve problems by seeking out the different, not-so-obvious human causes of problems. Steps to keep in mind include observations and interviews, uncovering insights, prototyping ideas and developing concepts.

Inevitably, this will result in a redesign of workflows to modernise apps for the requirements of a post-pandemic world. On the one hand this will bring the cross-channel consistency so desperately needed and on the other it will make apps more relevant and useful in the new normal.

Digital Transformation has entered a new period due to the pandemic. The opportunities that can be unlocked by this potential are myriad, but it requires a different way of thinking and using apps than before.

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