Mobile Intranet: Should You Build a Responsive Design or Native App?

Taking Your Intranet Solution to the Next Level

As the trend toward BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and allowing employees to work from home continues to rise, more companies are looking to expand their Intranet solutions to a mobile platform. Those considering this functionality, however, have a big decision ahead of them – do they build a mobile Intranet solution with responsive design or as a mobile app?

Our team discussed the pros and cons of each option and we’re sharing our insights to help you make the best decision for your company.

Pros of a Responsive Design for Mobile Intranet

1. Cross-device Optimization – No matter which device your employees utilize, they can navigate your Intranet with ease thanks to easily-created and updated media queries.

2. Simple CMS Integration – Because employees access the exact same content management system across devices, there’s no need for regular data transfers or complicated system integrations.

3. Security Options– Much like a traditional desktop Intranet solution, employees are still required to log in, keeping all company information private. Companies can even implement automatic logouts based on a timer or inactivity to increase security.

Cons of a Responsive Design for Mobile Intranet

1. User Speed – Because of the required media queries, Intranets with responsive design may operate slightly slower than preferred. This is because the media queries for all devices must load onto each page, even though only one query is being utilized.

Pros of a Mobile App Intranet

1. Security Benefits – Because the only person using most phones and/or tablets are the owners themselves, mobile apps housed on the device itself have airtight security. Even if devices are stolen, many consumers choose to password lock them, making it difficult to access the information on the phone. To provide an even more secure environment, automatic logouts can also be implemented.  

2. User Speed – Because the device doesn’t need to pull information on design and navigation from its online source, the Intranet moves quite quickly for users.

3. Utility App Integration – As with most mobile apps, integration with basic utility apps provide additional user functionality. For example, if users want to contact someone from the employee directory, they can either click on a phone number to start a phone call or click on the email address to compose a message using the operating system’s standard email app.

Cons of a Mobile App Intranet<

1. Additional Development – Because of the number of devices available to consumers today, to develop a mobile Intranet available all employees would require the development for dozens of platforms. For obvious reasons, this is costly and time-consuming.

2. Download Options – Submitting the completed application to the platform app stores is not cost-effective for most organizations, especially for those with less than several thousand employees. It makes more sense to have employees download the app directly to their devices on-location. However, responsibility for distributing the app then usually falls to the already-swamped IT department.

3. Update Requirements – Every time a bug is discovered, changes have to be made to the Intranet app by a developer and then pushed through the store as an app update. Every time a mobile and/or tablet operating system is upgraded, the app must follow suit to function at its full potential. This adds up to quite a few updates.

Our Mobile Intranet Recommendation

Our strategists and mobile developers recommend choosing a responsive design for your mobile Intranet solution. Quite simply, it’s the easiest solution to design, implement and maintain. It’s also the least expensive option by far.

Streamline your corporate communications, improve employee productivity and spark creative collaboration by taking your Intranet mobile. Need some help? Contact SteadyRain to get started today. 

photo credit: European Parliament via photopin cc