Knowledge management and advanced analytics are two of the developments that promise to change how field service organizations operate. Organizations that grasp how to leverage these changes stand to drive efficiencies, improve customer service and boost profits. There are a lot of things to think about when evaluating your mobile workforce strategy. And because your strategy impacts so many areas, it can be hard to know where to begin. To get you started, below are some strategies can help to win your business.
Communicate the benefits
The benefits of a mobile workforce need to be clearly explained when trying to get buy-in from senior directors. Have some hard facts in your back pocket that illustrate both the financial savings and the health and wellness benefits to employees. While productivity increases may be hard to quantify, they are real and do contribute to the profitability of any organization.
The primary focus should be how becoming a mobile organization enables employees to do their jobs better. Canadian businesses have found that employees are more productive, more flexible, and ultimately more satisfied with their jobs.
The secondary focus should be on the business benefits. Canadian IT decision makers who were surveyed note that mobile work styles make it possible to execute tasks more quickly, create greater flexibility to meet customers’ needs and reduce business costs, such as real estate. Companies might even look to reducing other benefits such as parking or transportation subsidies. However, it is always difficult to take something away that people feel entitled to. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.
When a business develops a mobile strategy, they are creating a plan to achieve an overall goal while leveraging the benefit of mobility. Simply deciding to integrate mobile into your organization is rarely effective- you need to clearly outline when you are hoping to achieve by integrating mobility- that way your end result is measurable and accountable. The first step of developing a mobile strategy is to outline exactly what your strategic approach will be, and aligning that with your organization’s overall strategy. Having a cohesive mobile strategy throughout your organization will reduce fragmentation, add efficiency, and spotlight areas where better optimization can occur.
Developing a mobile application is often believed to be a trivial task. The Apple App Store hit 10 billion downloads in early 2011, and mobile application developers are working in every “garage”. So why would you outsource your mobile application development to a specialized company while your next door neighbour can develop it for you, at a fraction of the cost? Well, think twice. There are over 350,000 apps available on the Apple App Store, but only a fraction of those have been downloaded more than 10,000 times. Why? Ergonomics. Most applications are poorly designed and fail to deliver on basic requirements such as user – friendliness, response time, look and feel. So when it comes to mobilizing your workforce or deploying an impactful consumer application, you have to work with the best.
Choose devices and operating systems
Some devices and operating systems are better suited than others for applications, and it’s important to determine which are right for your business needs. Industry specific applications like merchant card systems, architectural design applications or patient care systems may only work on select operating systems. Decide which devices are needed based on job requirements. If employees must access a customer relationship management system while visiting customer sites or give online demonstrations, a laptop or tablet may be more appropriate than a smartphone.
Finally, it’s crucial for managers to understand that implementing new mobile workforce strategies like this is not a one-off thing. Constant reviewing must be undertaken to examine where the strategy is succeeding and whether they are any ways in which it can be honed and improved. Implementing a new time and attendance solution? Conduct client and employee surveys three months in to decipher the general consensus on the new improvements. Changing your working hours or overtime policies? Be sure to hold regular performance meetings with your staff to check that they are happy with the changes and that their new shift patterns aren’t affecting morale.
If your business has been toying with the idea of a mobile strategy, our experts at TMO Group can help! We offer mobile strategy sessions to discuss what you’re looking for and what we can offer to get you on track to a more mobile workforce. To learn more, send us an email today- we’d love to discuss a mobile solution with you.