Posted on November 14, 2013 · Posted in Workflow

Today’s enterprises are going mobile to cut costs, improve efficiency and remain competitive. But mobile workforce management introduces a few unique challenges to the mix. Here are a few of the common challenges associated with implementing and managing a mobile workforce.

Demand for Instant Gratification

In today’s world, mobile devices allow you to update information on the fly – and customers have come to expect immediate gratification.  That means the management team is accountable for updating business partners and key stakeholders, scheduling, flexibility, and streamlining operations as a whole – from anytime, anywhere, and on-demand. That means executives require constant access to the most up-to-date analytics and figures, with the ability to generate reports quickly and easily.

But the same tools required to enable constant access to the company network, such as a mobile workforce management software solution, introduce other benefits to the workforce.  Remote access to the company network enables some employees to telecommute, at least periodically. The tricky component for most enterprises is finding the right balance between meeting client and customer demands without creating the perception that your team is constantly on the clock with no opportunities to disconnect.

Need for Automation

Remote teams can be more difficult to manage without a clear system in place. In industries where field service workers make face-to-face calls to address customer technical issues or make sales calls, scheduling can become a logistical nightmare. A workforce scheduling system can not only simplify scheduling, but enable you to plan more efficient routes and schedules for each employee. Every modern enterprise wants to be able to do more with less.

With more-automated scheduling processes, managers can spend more time on core business activities. Make sure that you analyze your business strategies and implement tools and applications that are in line with those goals. Field service management software with scheduling capabilities can boost efficiency, enhance customer service, reduce overhead costs and boost your bottom line.

Employee Resistance to Change

Moving to a mobilized workforce is a big change for many companies – and not everyone adapts well to change. This can be alleviated with the right approach to change management. Make sure your team knows about drastic changes before they actually take place and have a clear understanding of how the changes will help the company move forward.

Perhaps most importantly, ask for and listen to team feedback and suggestions, and clearly convey the benefits of proposed plans on the employee level. How will new systems and protocols enable your team members to do their jobs better? How will new tools make their responsibilities easier to manage?

Even when big changes have clear benefits and take both individual team members and the company as a whole in a positive direction, change is sometimes overwhelming and stressful. Implement big changes step by step, allowing ample opportunities for feedback, discussion and analysis along the way. Give your team tools to help manage change effectively – such as comprehensive training and incentives for going above and beyond. For example, select an employee who is readily adopting a new software system and make that individual a facilitator to address questions and help solve problems for the rest of the team. This type of recognition boosts morale and fosters loyalty.

Finally, stay on top of compliance. It’s one thing to implement new policies or processes, but ensuring compliance is another. It’s easy to fall back into old habits, so offer continued opportunities for learning and advancement as reinforcement. Regular audits are also useful for pinpointing any compliance issues before they become significant problems.

Maintaining Security

Going mobile means your workforce will be utilizing mobile devices to access sensitive company information. When these systems are implemented haphazardly, security concerns can arise. But these risks can be effectively mitigated with proper planning:

  • Choose whether to issue company-paid mobile devices and plans or implement a BYOD policy.
  • Require the use of mobile security software. Group licensing is available for many mobile security applications, enabling enterprises to implement a standard security measure across all devices.
  • Educate your team on best practices, including the creation of strong passwords, locking the device when not in use, and not accessing personal websites or social networks while logged in to the company network unless it’s necessary to perform job functions.
  • Utilize software and systems to perform regular security audits and identify potential network vulnerabilities before breaches occur.

Waiting until a security issue arises to create and enforce policies can lead to employee resistance. Make security a priority from the start, and you’ll set clear expectations with your team. Putting clear guidelines and systems in place at implementation enables your enterprise to maintain a safer security perimeter, even as it expands.

Multi-Device Access

If you’re implementing a BYOD (bring your own device) strategy, there are challenges associated with streamlining use and security across various types of mobile devices and operating systems. Choose a mobile workforce management software solution with multi-device compatibility for fewer access and compatibility issues.

Ideally, the right mobile workforce management solution provides a consistent, streamlined user experience across any device accessing the network. Otherwise, training teams on the use of new software becomes much more complicated as you’ll need to address the differences between devices. A single user experience means you can train every team member at the same time and using the same materials – which is much more cost-effective than addressing each device or operating system individually.

 

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