Digital Transformation and the Mobile Workforce

In recent years, digital transformation has permeated nearly every industry—and organizations that rely on a mobile workforce to deliver their products and services to customers are no exception.

But most software has been designed to solve business problems that take place in the office, at desks. While traditional field service management tools have been available to support technicians as they install, maintain or fix equipment, their applicability is 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, and residential and commercial services, among others—simply have not had enterprise-grade software designed for their unique needs.

As a result, digital transformation for these businesses has been far 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 — and, in turn, increased productivity — 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 create new, more efficient processes, opportunities, and solutions using digital technology.

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 the 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.

Learn how digital transformation can drive productivity to ultimately improve your business. 

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, and TV shows, were the first to be forced into a digital transformation, 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 2027, it’s expected that 41 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, productivity, 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, you’ve noticed 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  data on such key information and use it to target customers at prime upselling and cross-selling moments. With a mature digital strategy and the proper technology, 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 by way of robust tools 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. If your deskless workers can digitally track and manage customer information, they’re less likely to miss key details, ask for clients to repeat themselves, or drop the ball on receiving customer sign-off. Technology that allows you to capture and store detailed notes empowers each employee to provide excellent customer service, regardless of their job description. Equally important is the effect of those powerful tools on the productivity of deskless workers, who are better armed to feel empowered, engaged, and satisfied.

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 their work and strives to provide great customer interactions. Happy employees work harder than those who are not armed with resources to help them succeed. By enabling your deskless workers with digital tools to manage their workload—from automated scheduling, to data collection, to route optimization—you’ll ensure a more confident, prepared workforce. In turn, it means an increase in ROI from your mobile workforce.

Best Practices for Digital Transformation

Nothing worth having comes without its obstacles and despite the benefits digital transformation offers, there are certainly challenges to consider, as well. Here are some tips for overcoming the common hurdles of going digital:

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 jump on the bandwagon.

If these tech-savvy team members are willing to take others under their proverbial wings, 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, a vendor for residential cleaning services in Vancouver, manages about 1,000 appointments a month. Skedulo’s scheduling and dispatching software has enabled them to digitally transform their business to meet their needs.

Optimize routes/easier scheduling:

ServiceMaster Clean once used manual, 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 digitizing 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 with a fully integrated tech stack. Field service techs, sales, marketing, customer service, etc., now utilize the same, centralized platform and are  able to communicate as necessary—not only to facilitate the customer’s needs, but their team members’ needs, as well.

Happier, more productive employees:

By increasing transparency into scheduling, ServiceMaster Clean improved overall employee job satisfaction and efficiency. Deskless workers are able to digitally capture and store key client details  to help 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 there are 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 mobile workers’ needs in mind and allows everyone to get things right the first time at ServiceMaster Clean. And because the organization leveraged Skedulo’s powerful technology, employees were able to reap the benefits of a fine-tuned process designed to meet the needs of a mobile workforce. 

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 enable your mobile workforce to succeed!

Skedulo helps organizations—and their deskless workers—transform their processes for a more modern, productive workforce. Looking to learn how Skedulo can help with your own digital transformation? Book a demo today to see what a truly intelligent scheduling and dispatching platform can do for you!

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!