Consumer Grade Enterprise Apps and the death of “docs”

Its no secret that Google has taken enterprise business from Microsoft in recent years. G-Suite** launched (2006) 5 years before Office 365 (2011) and established a serious foothold for shared spreadsheets, docs, files and mail.

If you’ve used G-Suite, you will be familiar with the tips and popups they use both on Web and Mobile to educate you about features. 

Whilst G-Suite is a classy product, they still have used this education layer of tips and tours to help users get up to speed – we’ve reported some G-Suite examples in previous posts.

Consumer Grade UX

G-Suite is an example of Enterprise SaaS its at its best (you can imagine how many millions have been spent on Google docs!), they’ve built a product set that can be used by consumers and has survived the furnace of over a decade of use. 

However, Google realized that when it comes to the Enterprise, users still require some help to get onboarded with products their employer wants them to use.

To solve this, G-Suite also has a Chrome plugin specifically designed for companies to onboard and skill-up their employees.

The G-Suite tours provide a comprehensive set of features: tips, walk-throughs, coachmarks and videos and comes from the acquisition of  This fills a gap between seperate docs and Microsoft’s Clippy (we spoke about here). 

Other Apps that are used in the enterprise often need walk-throughs or tours to explain features to users. Examples that I’ve seen are Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and Workday – enterprises are using tips/tours for:

  1. reducing training costs
  2. increasing productivity
  3. educating remote staff

The problem has been (until Contextual) the same can’t be achieved in the Mobile Apps that Enterprise uses….AND…large quantities of staff are now predominantly mobile.

Are "docs" dead?

In the past nobody actually read the manual. Now, we can expect that a mobile-on-the-go workforce or user base will never go hunting around for docs.

The solution is:

  1. have Apps so simple they need no explanation (e.g like a shopping app)
  2. deliver feature-rich Apps but with Consumer-grade UX (as discussed above)
  3. Provide contextual help via tips, tours, tooltips (as shown by G-Suite Training)
  4. Add some videos

The best solution is a blend of (2), (3) and possibly a sprinkling of (4). Some companies use videos or animated-GIFs but we think they should be used sparingly.

Generally load times, delays, resolution makes them sub-optimal. More importantly –  looping animated GIFs are funny with cats, but when it shows someone picking from a drop-down list and scrolling around, its plain boring or confusing!

Follow Google's lead

We’ve previously explained that Google, Facebook, Dropbox and other successful Apps all use tips even though they have huge teams of Product Managers, Data Scientists and Developers. Simply put, Tips and Walk-throughs work for increasing user engagement and understanding.

The G-Suite Training example is great but not all companies can go out and acquire a company like Synergise 🙂 Luckily Onboarding products like Contextual are economical, functional, easy to use and considerably cheaper!

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