I’ve talked about satisfaction with Windows PCs, Office 365, and helpdesk, but when it comes to the promise of tech Nirvana there’s a critical foundation: Applications. With both PC and mobile software now bundled under this umbrella and so many iterations of even simple functions available as the app of your choice it’s no wonder that employees expect to get exactly what they want, when the want it, every time. The problem? Apps don’t always work as advertised — is it possible to lower employee frustration without letting down your guard?
Common Failure Points
Why do apps fail? There’s no easy answer to the question — which is part of the problem, since with so many apps from so many providers it’s almost impossible for IT professionals to pin down root causes. The evolving nature of applications, however, does suggest a few solid starting points.
Since most apps are now cloud-based it’s worth checking to see if your cloud provider or the application’s cloud server isn’t responding. While this may not alleviate employee aggravation at least you’ll know the immediate cause. Your own network may also be responsible. For example, many companies are now turning to Web application firewalls (WAFs) to protect against mobile and evolving threats. The problem? Improper configuration may mean otherwise “white-listed” apps aren’t getting through, leaving employees stranded on the wrong side of the wall.
Specific App Problems
Of course, generic cloud or network issues can’t account for every employee problem with their favorite app. As a result it’s worth considering the application environment: What’s the native OS and does it impact functionality or performance?
For example, the automatic updates (turned on by default) in Windows 10 sometimes cause previously happy apps to suddenly stop working; Windows Report notes that C: drive ownership may also cause an issue. As noted by Apple, meanwhile, if their apps become unresponsive it’s a good idea to restart the app, the device, then install another app to check if any applications are working — and if you’re still having problems to contact the developer. And if Android users are having trouble with integral system apps chances are it’s “another app that was later downloaded”; this makes sense but tracking down the culprit can be troublesome.
Sometimes It’s Not You
And in some cases, cloud services and even specific devices aren’t to blame. As noted Gizmodo, Marty Cooper — inventor of the first cell phone — argues that apps are terrible. This isn’t really a surprise since more than a few apps want far too much device access and obfuscate much of their activity to the naked eye, making it almost impossible to determine if a new app is causing the problem or if it’s causing other applications to misbehave.
Behind the Code
So how do you attack the app issue? Forget their purpose and concentrate on their impact, since whatever they’re called and however they look they’re still just lines of code designed to execute and perform a specific function. By leveraging agile analytics tools to monitor all end-user devices in real-time it’s possible to get a clear picture of exactly what apps are accessing and how this impacts network performance. Rather than being at the mercy of someone else’s code, you get the benefit of total tech transparency and can make the call — keep using the app with better oversight or tell users to toss it in the trash.
Employees love apps, but apps don’t always love them back. Calm the quarrel with ideal insight on what’s happening, when and why.