50% of the UK’s workforce will work remotely by 2020 according to a study by ONS.
As flexi-working and working from home increases amongst office-based employees, so does the requirement for companies to have an efficient, reliable Enterprise Mobility Strategy.
Companies have since reaped the benefits associated with remote working schemes, including productivity and employee satisfaction. But as remote working becomes more popular, so does the importance of having secure, accurate data sharing that can be controlled remotely where necessary.
In response to this movement, the market has exploded – with what seems like an abundance in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) software choices, comprehensive Unified Endpoint Management software and Telecoms providers offering a range of Mobile Device Management (MDM) options.
This is good news for the ‘traditional’ mobile workforce who rely on mobile technology to fulfill work tasks and projects: the site managers, the site operatives, the project managers, the labourers, the civil engineers, the delivery drivers, the picker packers, the warehouse managers, the sortation operatives, the forklift drivers, the materials handlers, the assemblers, the inventory control managers – those whose occupations are not solely desk or office-based.
It means there is now a greater opportunity for them to streamline their Enterprise Mobility Strategy, and by doing so generate productivity, increase efficiency and boost staff morale – all thanks to the evolution of flexi-working.
In this article, Conker offers 5 core considerations for an airtight Enterprise Mobility Strategy.
1. What business processes can you mobilise?
Besides the convenience of being able to sync data across mobile devices and having everything at the touch of a button, mobilising your business processes can also transform business efficiency and data accuracy.
Imagine having limited or no access to BIM on a construction site, the downtime accumulated waiting for models, access to documentation and vital information would be huge. The subsequent result of which is poor productivity, and when your mobile workforce feel they cannot fulfill their roles properly, low staff morale follows.
Consider what business processes your company uses and find out if they can mobilised. There are many ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions for generic business processes, or if your company has a unique process you might consider a skilled developer who can build your BPM for your specific company needs.
Even the smaller processes such as timesheets could make the biggest impact if mobilised. There is greater accuracy involved, less risk and overall happier employees.
2. Are your existing applications mobile ready?
A vital component of your Enterprise Mobility Strategy includes usability, particularly in relation to the existing applications your mobile workforce rely on on a day-to-day basis.
Consider these questions: Who is the end-user? What fleet of mobile devices have you provided them with? Are the applications that they use in order to fulfill their jobs mobile-friendly – or is there a mobile version available. If not, then why not?
It’s paramount that your existing applications are mobile ready not only for employee experience, but to benefit from features otherwise not available on the web version, including offline usability, utilisation of hardware such as camera, GPS, bluetooth etc., notifications and customisation and personalisation options.
In addition to this, there is a productivity factor – there is nothing more frustrating than a table that doesn’t snap to the screen, or a hidden navigation bar because the app is not mobile responsive. How is a mobile workforce expected to meet a deadline when half their time is spent battling with non-mobile ready applications?
Think about your smartphone, there is an app for email, an app for planning, an app for time management, an app for social media – there’s essentially an app for everything. In the current technology-driven climate we live in, there is no reason your mobile workforce applications can’t be mobile friendly, and if they’re not, then switch to an alternative!
3. Do you have a fit-for-purpose, Business Rugged fleet of devices?
A major part of your Enterprise Mobility Strategy is, of course, the device itself.
This might appear to be one of the easier considerations for your Enterprise Mobility Strategy, but on the contrary – it is where most companies get it wrong. And the consequences are expensive.
So, just how difficult can it be choosing the right fleet of mobile devices? (The answer is: it doesn’t have to be).
Let’s start with your understanding of your end-users: Who is your end-user? What environment do they work in? What is your end-user’s day-to-day duties? Does your end-user rely on a mobile device to fulfill tasks or complete projects? If so, which? Do they carry out repetitive tasks? Is there a particular software they use? What does success look like for your end-user?
Once you’ve built an understanding of your end-users requirements and applications, you can begin looking for a device that is fit-for-purpose. Fit-for-purpose means getting the device absolutely right; too many companies supply their mobile workforce with fragile consumer devices that result in hefty repair and replacement costs – and frustrated employees who cannot fulfil their roles. Whilst others provide ‘over-specified’ devices with needless features, that their end-users just don’t require – this route also proves unnecessarily expensive.
The trick is understanding your end-users’ requirements, and getting the fit ‘just right’.
4. Are your suppliers easy to work with?
We have all been burnt by suppliers who are happy to help in the beginning, but fail to provide the same standard of service and support during the entire buying process – particularly post-sale.
Now that you have assessed your end-users’ requirements and have the correct, fit-for-purpose device in mind, the supplier consideration stage can begin. Whilst it’s tempting to base your supplier preference solely on price or brand name, it is critical here to consider the level of support you will require looking forward, and to find out if a prospective supplier can deliver that.
It’s important you are happy with a supplier’s service and support policies before committing. Find out their repair, replacement and servicing procedures. Ensure you have a dedicated Account Manager. All too often IT teams are finding it increasingly difficult to simply speak to a human regarding their device provisioning.
In short – having an easy-to-work-with supplier that you can rely on has a great deal more value than saving a few bucks, or a big brand name in the long run.
5. Do you have a device downtime strategy?
It’s no revelation that mobile devices break after time, even the rugged ones eventually.
When this happens your mobile employees, left without the device they heavily rely on, cannot fulfill their jobs properly, and so not only experience downtime but also low morale.
Do you have a downtime strategy in place? Has it been tried and tested? Have you ensured that your IT team and device suppliers are informed and involved?
All of which are crucial in maintaining productivity when breakages occur. Find out what warranty package you have with your supplier; to what extent are you covered? What is the repair procedure? What is the agreed turnaround time? Find out where your supplier’s Service Hub is situated – do they stock spare parts? Will your supplier collect and return your device?
If you can answer these questions and work closely with your suppliers, you have the foundations of a solid downtime strategy.
The evolution of flexi-working has generated a boom in Enterprise Mobility software and hardware – great news for IT departments developing their Enterprise Mobility Strategies.
Yet all too often a company’s Enterprise Mobility is based on a set of devices that have not been evaluated from all angles, and without productivity in mind.
We recommend reviewing business processes, applications, suppliers and downtime strategies to establish whether your mobile devices are truly fit-for-purpose, business rugged, can increase productivity and minimise ‘total cost of ownership’.