Business Benefits: Mobile workforce management solutions for increased productivity and reduced costs

Jun 04, 2014 • FeaturesSoftware & AppsGeoPalGerard O'KeefeSoftware and Apps

Several recent research studies have shown that technology and mobility solutions in particular are growing in importance as businesses seek ways to improve productivity, increase efficiency and reduce costs of delivering services.  Gerard O'Keefe, CEO and Founder of GeoPal takes a look at some common trends and what that means for mobile workforce management...

Managing a mobile workforce cost-effectively can be difficult. A lack of visibility of employee locations outside the office, printing and distributing job packs, and lost or incomplete paperwork can lead to delays in issuing invoices and reports. Mobile Workforce Management solutions create significant cost reductions for businesses, and increase productivity and cashflow by eliminating paper and increasing visibility and control of business operations. Mobility solutions for workforce management, data capture and service management are becoming important tools for businesses as they strive to be more competitive.

What do business executives want from IT?

According to the McKinsey Global IT Survey, completed in 2013, more and more executives are acknowledging the strategic value of IT to their businesses beyond merely cutting costs. They are focusing on and invest in the function’s ability to enable productivity, business efficiency, and product and service innovation. 61% of executives prioritised the ability of IT solutions to improve the effectiveness of business processes, compared to 31%, who prioritised reduction of costs.

Is mobility important to business executives?

Over 1475 senior executives were surveyed between Dec 2013 and Jan 2014 by Accenture, to explore how companies are applying digital technologies to help improve various aspects of their business. 77% of participants considered mobility among their top five priorities for 2014. 43 % said that mobility was in their top two priorities. 39% will allocate budget to mobility to improve field service / customer service delivery. In addition to Mobility, Cloud solutions were also identified by 62% of respondents as being in their top 5 priorities for 2014. Combining mobility and cloud computing for even greater success. IBM also conducted a survey of CEO’s and CIO’s in 2014, and asked them to identify the key technologies they intended to invest in over the next few years. Mobility solutions (84%) and cloud computing (64%) were identified as being of key investment areas. 62% of respondents in the Accenture study identified Cloud technology as being in their top five priorities for 2014. Cloud-based technologies provide businesses with a low-cost way to implement new systems, including mobile workforce management. Cloud-based management systems are: 

  • Low-cost – op-ex instead of cap-ex – more affordable for SMEs
  • Faster to Deploy – can be deployed in days, rather than months
  • Mobile – Can be accessed anywhere, anytime via a web browser

Why choose mobility solutions for your business?

In 2010, a study asked over 2,200 decision-makers were asked what benefits their firms have experienced as a result of deploying mobile applications. Organizations that have deployed mobile applications report increases in worker productivity and efficiency, faster internal and customer-facing issue resolution, and improvements in customer satisfaction with services delivered. In the Global State of Enterprise Mobility 2014 Survey, the Enterprise Mobility Exchange asked businesses to identify the key benefits of mobility solutions. 72% of practitioners identified increased productivity as the key benefit for their business. 32% identified reduced costs as being a key benefit for their business.

What is Mobile Workforce Management?

There are usually two parts to a mobile workforce management system. A management system which can be cloud-based or locally installed on a server and a mobile application. Work is scheduled and assigned to employees from the management system, and details of jobs are sent to the employee via an app on their smartphone. The employee then completes the job, using the app to record completion of each step in a workflow or capture any data required for the job, such as photos, barcode/RFID scans, or electronic signatures. Status updates and job reports are sent back to the management system as the employee works through the job in the field. Mobile workforce management solutions facilitate faster, more accurate transfer of information between workers in the field and staff in the office. This enables faster production of professional reports and issuing of invoices, increasing cash flow and giving businesses a competitive edge over companies relying on paperwork.