Mobile Apps: Winning the Talent War
Recently I had the opportunity to have dinner at the Hamburger IT Strategietagen with Volkswagen (VW) Group’s new CIO, Martin Hofmann. During our dinner discussion, and again the next day in his public presentation, Hofmann put forth the idea that his chief reason for pushing mobile technologies and developing mobile apps was a human resources reason. He made it clear that the driving motivation for a strong VW push on mobile technologies was ensuring that VW was the place that the best people would choose to come to work. While many reasons related to the workforce have been mentioned by others as part of their thinking on mobile, this was the first time I had heard such a clear articulation of attracting the top talent corporation-wide as the primary driver of a mobile / mobile apps adoption strategy—and I found it convincing.
That doesn’t mean that Hofmann is ignoring other reasons for mobile adoption and taking the plunge into developing corporate mobile apps. He sees the productivity reasons, the process efficiency reasons, the agility reasons. But first and foremost for VW is the impact on job satisfaction for each and every VW employee. They see user satisfaction as being a key to attractive work. “User satisfaction = Motivation = Satisfaction at Work”, as one of the bullets on a slide read. And with that, they believe, will come an enhanced opportunity to influence and win the war for talent in the coming years.
Hofmann pointed out that this had some implications for the approach to mobile and mobile apps. Implications for co-development, more agile development, and real ease-of-use. This echoed many of the things I have come to believe over the last six months:
- What has come to be known as “mobile apps” are about a lot more than mobile use—they are about a quick way to accomplish a specific task or drill to specific information efficiently;
- More so than in prior types of applications, an appealing and intuitive user-interface is a necessity—“finger-swipe” simplicity is a must;
- Mobile technology is indeed causing a rethink of many processes—the impact will be more profound than we first thought.
But the really interesting aspect of this was VW’s clear driver for mobile: the winning of the talent war.
Martin Hofmann, CIO at VW Group, speaking at the Hamburger IT Strategietage in Hamburg, Germany.
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