“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” - Lao Tzu

This oft-quoted phrase, when applied to day-to-day life, refers to making small, incremental and simple changes to a person’s life leading to a sustainable transformation. Human psyche is designed to go with the status quo and crave for the familiar. Our mind behaves like a rubber band. However much it is stretched to the limit and beyond, it comes back to its resting position. Most often, we tend to resist change. Because change comes with time and pain. And therefore, most people ask, “Why is this taking so long?” and exclaim, “Damn, this is painful!”

Human psyche is designed for inertia and not really for a giant leap. Embracing change incrementally is the key.

Enough about life. Now, let’s talk about enterprises. And the common theme here between life and enterprises is: change or transformation. Just like in life, for businesses, this incremental acceptance of change is well-tested through the ‘Kaizen’ approach that talks about continuous incremental changes in processes and systems delivering sustainable transformation.

Digital transformation is long and complex

For today’s enterprises, it’s important to utilize modern day intelligence, and that’s why they are embarking on digital transformation. But, digital transformation is long and complex. It involves bringing together people, systems and processes. With information spread across spreadsheets, paper processes, point solutions and different legacy systems, business silos and functional areas struggle to communicate, collaborate and coordinate. Adding to this is the inherent inertia of human nature that makes digital initiatives a complex exercise.

Fall in staff productivity

Today’s enterprise users are choked with multiple work apps on their mobile devices resulting in nagging productivity issues.

Key productivity challenges faced by enterprise users include:

Research shows that context switching between apps can result in a 40% loss of productivity. A recent report by McKinsey states that “the productivity growth stands at a historical low in this age of technological advancement”.

But the report also states that there is hope. Productivity levels of enterprises can recover upto a minimum of 2 percent through digital initiatives. On one hand, enterprises cannot write off the importance of digital initiatives but, at the same time - as I mentioned earlier - it just could be a long and complex process.

So what’s needed?

And the answer lies in going from mega to micro, giant to small, Goliath to David, sweeping to step-by-step. Enterprises need to think in terms of micro transformation: small, incremental changes adding up to significant results over time. Microapps are one of the means to facilitate this.

Today, both enterprises and users alike need a different breed of apps, apps 2.0 if you will.

For enterprises
For users
Faster and easy-to-build apps
Easy navigation
Low maintenance and cost
Omnichannel apps with single-point access
Greater control and security
Single-purpose apps

To meet the rising productivity challenges and needs, Gartner and Forrester also recommend the adoption of microapps by enterprises.

“Microapps enable enterprises to deliver and update fit-for-purpose apps more easily”  -   Gartner

“Employers are now willing to spend 3% more on 'micro apps' for employees”  -    Forrester

What’s the big deal about microapps?

Unlike monolithic enterprise apps, which are unwieldy with a complex navigation and UI, microapps are simple, stripped-down and single-purpose HTML “card” versions, presented contextually and through AI search. Each microapp is designed to perform a single task.

Microapps can be developed without complex coding or integrations and bundled into a single container app. Moreover, these microapps can also be presented contextually based on the user’s intent. Microapp framework can intuitively understand the search context and present the most relevant microapp or even take actions on behalf of user.

How they can help you

These simple apps can be created to streamline and simplify pretty much any process within your enterprise operations, for example:

You can create simple microapps to streamline your retail operations and ensure compliance. The paper driven processes can be transformed and automated by creating simple microapps like retail checklists for auditing, data collection and task management.Within industries like manufacturing, these can help with Inventory Lookup, Time Card Entry, PO Approvals, Price Requisitions, Service & Maintenance Requests, Expense Requests/Approvals, Asset Tracking, Lead Entry, Quotations, etc.

Simplify common employee tasks: like accessing company directory, payslips, company news, managing leaves, etc. Crisis management: You can create a mission critical microapp during service disruption and handle your customers service requests with ease.

Many more microapp use cases exist, and are being widely adopted across organizations and industries. Replacing manual and paper driven processes with these small and simple apps may just be the starting point for a mobile-driven digitization across your enterprise.

Microapps: A boon for businesses

One of the great successes in the 2008 Beijing Olympics was the british cycling team that won 7 out of 10 medals. And the star of the event was their head coach, Sir Dave Brailsford. When he took charge, British cycling had only won a single medal in its 76 years of history. As he states in this interview with Harvard Business Review , “Aiming for gold was too daunting. As an MBA, I had become fascinated with Kaizen and other process-improvement techniques. It struck me that we should think small, not big, and adopt a philosophy of continuous improvement through the aggregation of marginal gains.” His recipe for success was improving each element of cycling by a small 1%. It’s no different for an enterprise. Small and incremental is the key. And microapps may just be this gamechanger.

For a sustainable digital transformation, go Kaizen, go micro.

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