Digital Transformation and the Mobile Workforce

For organizations that rely on a mobile workforce to deliver their products and services to customers, we have encouraging news: the digital transformation is finally here for you.

Most software has been designed to solve business problems that take place in the office, at desks. While field service management tools have been available to support technicians as they install, maintain or fix equipment, their applicability has narrowly focused on just those use cases and connection to ERP systems.

But the many, many more businesses that send scores of people to their customers for other purposes—such as home healthcare, education and training, residential and commercial services, among others—simply have not had enterprise grade software designed for them.

As a result, digital transformation for these businesses has been even more complicated than it needs to be. But with increased attention and understanding of the nuanced needs of mobile work, enterprise-grade software is finally enabling digital transformation for the mobile workforce.

What Is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is a process of assessing how well an organization’s needs are being met, then using that information to leverage digital technology to create new, more efficient processes, opportunities, and solutions.

The exact meaning of digital transformation is different for nearly every company. When asked, some might describe it as making the switch from paper records to digital. Others may say that digital transformation means a move toward mobile maturity, or the ability to examine and create new revenue streams.

At heart—at least where mobile workforce management is concerned—digital transformation is the process of using and fine-tuning technology to meet the needs of your organization, your employees, and ultimately, your customers.

The Second Wave of Digital Transformation

The first wave of digital transformation was catalyzed by—you guessed it—the rise of the internet. While companies that provided digital services, such as music, movies, TV shows, etc., were hit the hardest and forced into a digital transformation first, eventually most organizations made some changes, even if comparatively small ones.

Now the second wave of digital transformation requires more than small, incremental changes. The Internet of Things (IoT) all but guarantees that in the very near future, all companies, regardless of industry, will need to make digital transformation a top business priority.

By 2020, it’s expected that 21 billion IoT connected devices will exist. From refrigerators that email you when you’re out of milk to wearable healthcare tech, all of these devices collect massive amounts of data. If companies aren’t prepared to receive, handle, and leverage that data, they’ll be left in the dust by competitors who can.

IoT isn’t the only driving force behind the second wave of digital transformation. Artificial intelligence, back-office automation, a consumer-first approach, and automated workflows optimized with purposeful automation all contribute to digital transformation, and ultimately, a company’s bottom line.

The Benefits of Digital Transformation

Now that we’ve looked at what digital transformation is, where it has been, and where it’s headed, it’s time to outline exactly why you should make it a priority.

Cross-channel marketing

For many organizations, marketing happens not just via traditional channels like internet and advertising, but also through your mobile employees who are delivering services in the field.

For example, a client regularly uses your company for service X but has never used service Y. Why? Did the client tell the mobile worker that the service wasn’t wanted, or does the client simply not know about the offering? Digital transformation makes it easier than ever to collect collect data on those situations and use it to target customers at prime upselling and cross-selling moments. With a mature digital strategy, you can optimize your marketing efforts to reach customers in person, online, and everywhere in between.

Increased transparency

Too many companies take a siloed approach to their business—point solutions that don’t integrate, manual processes that don’t translate back into digital, and systems that don’t have bi-directional sync. Digital transformation allows your business to communicate, integrate, and gain a holistic view of the customer, mobile workers, and the back office. All in all, digital transformation offers unparalleled transparency into your business to run it properly and efficiently.

Better customer service and employee productivity

When the right hand can see what the left hand is doing, everyone wins. Detailed notes and increased transparency empowers each employee to provide efficient and good customer service, regardless of their job description.

A consistent, engaged team

Your employees are the heart and soul of your business. When you give them the necessary tools to do the job, and empower them to use them, you create a team that takes pride in the work and loves their jobs. Happy employees work harder than those who are set up to fail due to a lack of visibility. In turn, it means an increase in ROI from your mobile workforce.

The Challenges of Digital Transformation

Nothing good ever comes easy, and despite the benefits digital transformation offers, there are certainly challenges to consider, as well.

Introduce new technology slowly

If your workforce struggles with adopting new technology, it’s best to feed them bite-sized pieces. Don’t overwhelm them by dropping new software in their lap and setting a hard deadline for knowing everything about it. Instead, introduce the most crucial part first, wait until they feel comfortable with it, then introduce the next most important piece.

Allow your tech-savvy workers to take the lead

Identify the more tech-savvy employees in your company and let them use the software first. Encourage them to tout the benefits of the program to the rest of the crew—how much easier it makes their job, the new time-saving features, etc. Before long, gossip will get the needle moving, and everyone will want to get in on it.

If these tech-savvy team members are willing to take others under their proverbial wing, encourage it! People are often more comfortable to ask peers questions than “outsiders” or higher-ups. One option is to create a “round table” of sorts, where team members can bounce questions off of one another. This allows everyone to feel like they’re on the same team.

Change the mindset

A leader’s job is to explain the hows and whys of digital transformation. Too often, there’s a significant disconnect between the c-suite and the workers “in the trenches,” which can lead to frustration and pushback from employees who feel like it’s just one more thing added to a full plate.

It’s important to show your team how digital transformation will benefit them personally, not just how it will benefit the company as a whole.

A Case Study in Digital Transformation: ServiceMaster Clean

ServiceMaster Clean sees about 1,000 appointments a month. Skedulo has been able to help them digitally transform their business to meet their needs.

  • Optimize routes/easier scheduling: ServiceMaster Clean once used paper scheduling processes. A service tech would show up in the morning, get their schedule for the day, and that was it. It was easy to fall behind schedule and arrive late to the rest of the day’s appointments if a job took longer than expected. Plus, if something changed along the way, communicating that change to the rest of the team and/or the back office took away valuable time spent with customers or traveling to the next appointment.

By tweaking the process, field techs now get their schedules in real-time, based on factors such as time, location, and route optimization. If a job is taking longer than expected, or a customer asks for additional services, the tech can communicate that information to the home office and all schedules can be updated accordingly.

  • Eliminate the silos: Before ServiceMaster Clean began its digital transformation, there was a significant disconnect between departments. Field service techs were required to act as salespeople; however, they didn’t have the tools or the knowledge base to perform that aspect of the job.

Digital transformation allowed ServiceMaster Clean to break down the silos. Field service techs, sales, marketing, customer service, etc., are now all on the same page and able to communicate as necessary—not only to facilitate the customer’s needs, but their team members’ needs, as well.

  • Happier employees: By increasing transparency regarding scheduling, ServiceMaster Clean improved the overall employee job satisfaction. Staff are empowered to leave notes on a client account that helps other technicians (and even other departments) get up to speed and serve customers seamlessly. They can now view schedules ahead of time to see if enough time has been allotted for a certain job or if they see potential delays or challenges in the daily schedule. All staff can see the bigger picture through a consistent messaging cycle by all parties involved.

Digital transformation keeps employee needs in mind and allows everyone to get things right the first time at ServiceMaster Clean. It set employees up to win!

Are You Ready to Transform?

Digital transformation means preemptively looking at how your organization can be optimized and using digital technology to make the necessary changes that allow everyone to succeed!

Skedulo helped ServiceMaster Clean transform their workforce. Are you next? Book a demo today and see what a truly intelligent scheduling and dispatching platform can do for you!