Free Coffee and Enterprise Apps


It’s 8:45pm on a Wednesday night, and I’ve triumphantly returned to the office with an order of 2 large pizzas, fried mushrooms, beer, and chocolate whoopee pies — all paid for by the company. After dinner the team and I retreat back to our custom-made steel desks, recline in our Harmon Kardon chairs, and power up a vast array of electronic devices to the backdrop of classic rock playing over the speakers via AirPlay:

  • 24 inch monitors – Check
  • Mac Book Pro – Check
  • iPhone – Check
  • iPad – Check
  • Nexus 4 – Check
  • and freshly brewed coffee. – Check

If you don’t already know, these are the staples of the 21st century knowledge worker and free coffee is no longer a job perk. It’s a requirement.

The workplace is evolving rapidly, and with it, so are the tools necessary to keep employees happy, engaged, and productive. And by the way, the toolset now includes smartphones and mobile apps. We take it for granted but it’s amazing to think that four years ago the iPhone was just an iPod you could make a phone call on and “browse” the web. Today, the vast majority of knowledge workers now use their personal smartphones (BYOD) to check email, make business calls, edit documents, perform knowledge work, and of course play candy crush saga. The smartphone and the apps installed upon them have become enormous productivity enhancers. So much that according to SAP, companies with a mature mobile strategy have:

Almost 2x employee productivity
Almost 4x higher margins
Over 20% lower customer churn

So if mobile is so critical to a company’s success, where are all of the enterprise app stores?

Despite the fact that:

94% of CTOs believe that mobility will be important. (Altimiter 2013)
65% of CTOs believe mobile support for employees is a critical priority. (Forrester 2012)

Enterprises have been dreadfully slow in meeting the needs of the mobile workforce. To be fair, mobile is still in its infancy but ponder this:

Next year’s graduating class from colleges and universities was born in 1992. These digital natives have spent their entire lives using mobile phones and the internet. They will inevitably expect and demand better work tools (read: enterprise mobile apps) and better coffee.