Mobile App User Behaviors

As I venture to reiterate the obvious, we know strategy without execution is nothing more than a strategic plan collecting dust on the shelves.  Nothing you don’t know. Depending on which methodology of execution you happen to follow, I suspect it emphasizes the need for productivity and efficiency as the operation, people, and strategy fall into alignment.

Now, let’s take it just one step further and focus on how mobile applications impact our individual and team efficiency and productivity.  Here are three mobile app behavior groups I’ve summarized based on my observations.  There are no doubt more, but this is a blog article, not a whitepaper.  I have tried to ignore the nuisances related to the pros and cons of bring you own device (BYOD) to the workplace.  That is an entirely different discussion.


The Tinkerer.

The tinkerer likes to install and test just about every mobile app they can cram onto their device.  They will spend hours integrating other apps just to see if it can be done – regardless of how relevant it is to their needs.   They will also create logins for just about every social media site that comes along.   And, they have just about every utility, game, and photo-editing tool under the sun loaded on their device.

You need a few tinkerers in your organization.  Someone in marketing should be acutely aware of current and evolving social media apps that are relevant to your current operation and your strategies.  A hands-on experience may be required to reveal how advertisement is integrated into the platform, the rules of that particular channel, and the targeted audiences actually using the system.

Members of your IT team are, by nature, tinkerer’s.  Many of the features and functionality incorporated into your own solutions will be products of experiences with other programs.

Where are the tinkerers in your organization?  How efficiently are they managing their time?  How productive are they?  Are they helping you to execute your strategy?  If you believe there is a role for tinkering in your company – be sure to allocate the time and budget for these activities.  And, in return, you have the right to expect productivity and accountability.   Don’t confuse tinkerers with innovators.  Although tinkerers may also be innovators, tinkering itself is not innovation.


The Laser.

Day in and day out, these may be the most efficient mobile device users in your company.   They will take the tools at hand and get the most bang for the buck. They prefer to spend time executing vs. experimenting.  These individuals spend their time on the few relevant apps they need to be successful, and they are more likely to become a power user of those apps.  You will not find these people waiting in line for the next big thing.  Lasers don’t just make lemonade with lemons; they make great lemonade.

The only drawback with lasers is they tend to be a bit less change friendly.  This makes sense, as they have a considerable amount of time and energy invested in fewer apps.  Change their app, and you take away their perceived usefulness and knowledge. Here is an opportunity to tap them as a power user of the old app (or system) to incorporate their experience into the new app.The Enforcer.

Probably the most inefficient mobile app user is the enforcer.  These individuals will spend a week attempting to get a feature to work just a certain way, or get two apps to integrate or sync in a particular manner – all at the expense of productivity.  If the app it doesn’t work just so, they will do their best to toss the baby out with the bathwater.


The Enforcer.

Enforcers disrupt collaboration efforts by attempting to incorporate apps that are not compatible with the team’s platform(s).  In many cases they believe they are innovators, simply trying to push the company to new levels of productivity.  There is a time and place for innovation, and a method to systematically deploy new apps, systems, and processes into the operation.  However, more often than not, the enforcer will attempt to innovate the wrong way, at the wrong time.

Your IT resources suffer a net loss when interacting with the force of the enforcers.  Enforcers would rather (often unknowingly) waste time integrating two incompatible apps, rather than learning how to better deploy the tools (apps) they have today.

Mobile apps are changing the way we do business.  It is critical we systematically manage the use of apps in a manner that positively impacts the execution of our strategic plan.  Tinker when and where it is necessary, stay focused like a laser when productivity and efficiency are in demand, and beware the enforcer.

Finally, yes I understand I need better names for these behaviors.  I probably spent too much time tinkering?


About Ron Woodbury

Owner and Founder of Ron Woodbury Consulting.