This article was updated on July 20, 2018.

Soaring mobile adoption rates have lead many CHROs and HR leaders to wonder if they need a mobile app for the workforce. According to SmartInsights, the average American adult now spends 2.8 hours each day engaged with a mobile device, and 89 percent of mobile time is spent on apps. So it's no surprise that mobile applications have become an increasingly common aspect of enterprise technology, including customer relationship management (CRM) tools. At many organizations, implementing an application for human capital management (HCM) simply makes sense.

Harvard Business Review (HBR) notes the growing importance of applications within the enterprise. In fact, modern organizations believe that mobile applications have the potential to increase workplace productivity by 40 percent or more, according to a survey by Mobile Helix cited in the article. Prior to implementation, HR leaders are encouraged to think of the "four simple Cs":

  • Control
  • Consistency
  • Creativity
  • Credibility

App adoption isn't always simple, however. Prior to investment in apps for HCM, HR leaders should consider organizational readiness, potential adoption challenges, costs and goals.

Here are four key factors to include while considering your app decision.

1. Are You Ready?

Regardless of whether your organization opts to develop an app in-house or purchase a mobile human capital management solution, implementation can be costly. Assessing organizational readiness prior to initiating the project can help you ensure the outcome is worth the investment and that you don't exceed your budget.

A change readiness assessment can help you determine three core factors: attitudes, resources and conditions. Being truly prepared for the implementation of an HCM app will normally require the following:

  • Sufficient resources
  • A clear vision and objectives for the app
  • Sufficient internal support and motivation to maintain change momentum

2. What Are Your Goals?

Without the right application, you're unlikely to achieve your goals. However, unless you understand your goals in the beginning, it can be challenging selecting the right technology. While organizational priorities and needs can vary significantly, understanding the most common goals of HCM technology could be helpful in shaping your objectives. HCM app objectives could include the following:

  • Connecting workforce goals to organizational goals
  • Providing ongoing training and education to staff
  • Reducing HR and admin costs

3. Are You Prepared for Adoption Challenges?

Technology adoption has never been a simple concept. Evaluating whether you need a mobile app, however, carries a distinct advantage. Your employees are already using mobile devices for work and personal time, so HR leaders won't need to convince their colleagues and employees to adopt mobile devices in addition to a new platform.

By anticipating adoption challenges early in the implementation process, HR leaders can build adoption best practices into their change management controls. HBR recommends the following steps to achieve high adoption within your organization:

  • Choose the right technology
  • Customize training
  • Nominate technology evangelists
  • Build the technology into routines
  • Provide quick wins
  • Develop incentives for adoption

4. Can You Afford It?

The "hard costs" associated with technology development or licensing are not the only factors to consider when evaluating your resources. Implementation budgets should contain a variety of factors to truly understand total cost of ownership (TCO) in the first year post-implementation. Factors to consider should include

  • Business requirements documentation
  • App customization
  • Data integration
  • Testing
  • Training
  • Maintenance
  • Process Revisions

As mobile technology continues to explode, HR leadership is starting to understand the value of mobile applications as a tool for communication and convenience in the enterprise. While apps can bring tremendous value to the workplace, it's critical to consider the costs, challenges and goals of your team prior to implementation.

Tags: Trends and Innovation HCM Technology Large Business Multinational Research & Insights Articles HR Technology