Desktop applications reside and run on an internal server or client system. They run stand-alone on a computer, in contrast with the web-based applications that require a web browser to run. Adobe, MS Outlook, MS Teams, Skype, etc. can be considered as typical desktop applications. Notably, desktop applications may not necessarily be a walled garden; They often provide internet-based services, ie. the desktop versions of MS Teams, Slack, and Zoom.
According to the Bessemer Venture Partners report, Saas is definitely the future of applications and will overtake desktop applications by the 2030s.
This presumption is not surprising considering the increasing popularity of Saas applications. But the question here is that is it a case of out with the old and in with the new or is there still a place for both desktop and Saas in the future?
The popularity of cloud-based services has been increasing significantly over the last few years for many reasons like portability, lower costs, etc. Nevertheless, many organizations still depend on legacy and on-prem systems because they provide certain benefits that are almost impossible to replicate within a browser. This is why desktop applications occupy a strong position among enterprises even today, and why there is a narrow chance of them ever becoming completely outdated. For the foreseeable future, both are relevant to modern organizations.
Desktop applications are critical for everything from operations to supply chain to other crucial functions of the enterprise. Unfortunately, CIOs face a number of challenges while implementing these business-critical enterprise applications, such as:
Any business software with a wide range of advanced functionality is preferably done as a desktop app, especially when such software is capable of generating work that cannot be placed on external servers (due to sensitive data). This is why IDEs like Visual Studio and database management systems like SQL Management Studio are desktop applications.
With web applications, an interrupted internet connection might cost employees their time and productivity, not to mention the inability to access business-critical data and information. Whereas desktop applications are standalone and do not face any hindrances from poor internet connectivity. Hence, when access to information is critical for an organization, a desktop application would be the better bet.
Industries with sensitive data prefer desktop applications over SaaS alternatives since they are much more secure due to the infrastructure and maintenance ownership kept in-house. Standalone applications can be protected against various vulnerabilities while web applications are open to a large number of users in the internet community thus widening the threat. Hence, if your application is used for sensitive data, a desktop app is the better choice in that circumstance.
Desktop applications hold the number one place in terms of efficiency and performance for certain tasks. For instance, the performance of desktop applications for complex calculations is higher than that of web applications.
Also, critical applications that rely on speed are better off with desktop applications (e.g. financial and trading software), since users don’t need to sift through twelve tabs to get to a tool.
A Digital Adoption Solution(DAS) provides an interactive overlay of step-by-step, contextual walkthroughs, engagement widgets, and self-help solutions for the users. Whatfix DAS for desktop enables user engagement throughout the application lifecycle.
Here is how you can drive adoption and usage of desktop applications among users across the enterprise with Whatfix DAS:
Whatfix In-App Guidance enables managers to create custom desktop notifications, encourage engagement with legacy processes, guide users step by step to execute complex tasks, and complete workflows without external support. It improves user efficiency on the application by providing guidance on form filling, validating data entry, and automating repetitive tasks.
It is challenging to onboard users to complex desktop applications. Whatfix DAS provides a solution to this challenge by navigating new users to setup and configure applications intuitively. A DAS creates an interactive user onboarding experience by providing a quick product tour of tabs and screens using videos and images.
“74% of organizations use traditional methods that fall short of empowering employees to acquire skills and take responsibility to improve the work.” – Bersin by Deloitte
DAS provides structured and personalized training plans to enable users to learn in the flow of work within the desktop application itself. Whatfix Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) provides on-the-job training in a short process to complete tasks effectively.
A self-served support system can be created for the users that provide on-demand help within the application. The Desktop Widget is a multi-access tool that displays Whatfix content on the same menu for users to access easily. With the self-help widget, guidance is always available to the user, enabling them to start a process by using the search bar or navigating through the menu that aggregates content from multiple knowledge sources to contextually serve relevant content.
To announce any updates or tasks requiring an immediate attention, managers can add important notifications on their employee’s desktop to ensure a high engagement rate with each notification.
Instead of relying on the user to look out for information that they might not even know of, desktop notifications can be placed on their screen guaranteeing that they get the message.
The kind of notifications you can put up for your users can be:
DAS allows businesses to modernize legacy, on-prem platforms with minimal effort, thereby improving overall employee experience and productivity.
Whatfix Desktop is a DAP that offers your users the right guidance at the right time, on any desktop application. It allows admins to create content specifically for user roles thereby enabling user engagement throughout the lifecycle including onboarding, continuous learning and training, self-service support, and change management. To learn more about Whatfix and unlock the true value of your desktop applications, you can schedule a demo with us today!