The App Ecosystem

One of the talks that stuck with us since last week’s Worktech16 London, was Philip Ross’ talk on the app centric workplace. In his talk, Philip explained how apps are transforming business and the way people work. The era of command and control is over. Organizations are searching for a new way of organizing. The workplace transforms; the organization is organically built around collaboration. This new mode of organization — a “network of teams” with a high degree of empowerment, strong communication, and rapid information flow — is gaining in popularity all around the world. 

a network of teams with a high degree of empowerment, strong communication, and rapid information flow

Software for the network of teams

This change in organizational structures generates a new time where the workplace works as a feature. Apps and software innovation make it possible for the above mentioned ‘network of team’ to work.  In an app centric workplace, your worker is more empowered to make independent decisions, is more collaborative with her co-workers, and is closer to her client. By giving your employees control back, an employer can create an environment that encourages an ownership mentality that sets them up for success. 

Nowadays, requiring an employee to ask a secretary for a room reservation seems ridiculous. However, people tend to forget the implicit knowledge a secretary uses to provide the best service when scheduling your booking. Making sure your room isn’t right next to some noisy event, asking you if you require catering services when you’re scheduling around lunch time, making sure there’s enough time between reservations to clean the room. Simple stuff, but it often requires information scattered around different apps and systems. So, the power of controlling your environment isn’t the only thing workers will need to optimize their productivity and happiness. To be able to make informed and sensible decisions, they’ll need easy access to live data and information on their surroundings.

From many apps to one ecosystem

Rather than creating a collection of individual, single purpose apps, we must start thinking in terms of an app ecosystem that takes real advantage of this new paradigm. Data sharing and the use of web and IT standards are of vital importance to be able to cross application borders and prevent a technology lock-in. The apps in this ecosystem can range across an entire business. They are cloud-based and sold as a service. Many of these tools can be used “out-of-the-box” without major installations, simplifying technical audits. Cloud-based B2B organizations, like Mapiq, often have extensible APIs, which allows them to run smoothly alongside the software already being used. 

Mapiq’s room booking module, for example, can coexist with advanced room booking systems already in place. (e.g.: exchange, Axxerion) Power-users in facility management aren’t forced to change applications; they can still use the connected systems to do their work. The employees are the ones that benefit: within Mapiq, they’re presented with an insightful combination of data gathered from multiple applications in the eco-system. Of course, there’s the availability schedule that’s shared with the room-booking software, but Mapiq provides additional information on climate, business, room facilities and nearby colleagues as well.

The rich information generated and shared across apps is what makes the difference between allowing people to make decisions, and empowering them to make the right decisions and provide them with the best support. 

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Author: Anne Wernand

Anne is a communication expert with an academic background in psychology. Ask her about copy writing, communication channel analysis or the best Dutch (music) festivals!

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