Dreamforce 2019: Mobile Workforce Management Trends

Just before Thanksgiving, members of the Salesforce community descended upon San Francisco for the 2019 Dreamforce conference. With over 2,700 sessions and speakers ranging from Emilia Clarke to former President Barack Obama, there was something for everyone. It was my first Dreamforce and I’m still buzzing with excitement over everything I saw, heard, and learned!

For those of us focused on the deskless workforce and mobile work, there were several trends and topics at Dreamforce that stood out the most. 

1. Customer Centricity

Ensuring a positive, customer-centric experience has always been a central tenet for partners in the Salesforce ecosystem. While the idea of putting the customer first is not a new idea or trend, their experience is being redefined as their entire journey with a product or service, from the initial search based on their needs to a purchase decision — and every step in between. 

Technology can play a key role in providing a 360 view of customers — this means not just recording data in a CRM after an engagement, but ensuring that the customer has a connected experience from beginning to end. In industries such as home healthcare or residential services, where mobile workers interact directly with customers away from an office, these connected experiences are critical in growing a business and standing out against the competition. 

Mobile workforce management software can ensure that mobile workers are empowered with the necessary information to deliver an optimal experience. Having a mobile workforce management solution in place allows these organizations to match the right mobile worker to customer needs, track notes from service or appointment history, and ensure that each experience is better than the last. 

2. Sustainability

Each year, Dreamforce prioritizes sustainability and treating the environment as a key stakeholder by conserving resources, reducing waste, and finding ways for attendees to get involved. This year was no different — from the Climate Summit to ensuring that all lunch packaging was 100% compostable, Dreamforce did its part to minimize the impact on the environment.

Implementing a mobile workforce management solution can help organizations to be more sustainable. With many companies using manual or non-digital processes — many of them duplicative or redundant! — mobile workforce management can dramatically decrease the use of paper-based work and reduce errors in their operations.

As mobile workers travel from location to location to complete jobs, mobile workforce management software can help organizations plan more efficient routes — optimizing travel time and potentially reducing vehicle emissions.

3. Self-service Information

With mobile workers performing jobs in different locations and different times during the day, they need to be equipped to gather information and handle changes in real-time. It will be increasingly important to optimize how mobile apps are used in the completion of a job, from preparing for on-site customer visits to recording data after a job completion. 

Well designed mobile apps that take inspiration from consumer-grade products will become table stakes for deskless workforce management, optimized for efficiency and matched to how mobile employees complete their work. At Dreamforce, companies talked about how mobile workers were frustrated when they couldn’t answer customers’ questions. When employees know exactly where to get the information they need and can operate independently, they will feel more empowered and engaged — and in turn, deliver an improved customer experience.

4. AI & Automation

Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technology solutions were abundant at Dreamforce, and they weren’t just talking about making operations more efficient and streamlined. From AI-driven chatbots to providing automated suggestions to customers, these tools provide enormous value by freeing up worker brain power to focus on softer skills like empathy and personal connection. And as we’ve previously mentioned, the more you can connect with the customer, the better the service you provide will be.

As companies with mobile workers grow in size, artificial intelligence and automation will play a big part in a scalable solution — for example, pairing thousands of mobile workers with different customers at different locations means that there are millions of possible combinations for scheduling. Mobile workforce management software will need to leverage robust automation technology in order to handle all of these scenarios.

5. End Users as Key Stakeholders

When engaging in a partnership between customer and vendor, it’s important to identify key stakeholders. These are often the individuals within an organization that have influence on decisions or purchasing power. However, savvy software companies are starting to realize that end users — the ones who will eventually be using a solution or process — are capable of providing valuable insight that can increase their chances at a successful product. 

UX research like interviews and ethnography are different methods that vendors can use to improve their product features and usability. But internally, companies can also seek feedback from users to decide what solutions are most helpful in improving operational efficiency. This is particularly helpful for companies with mobile workforces, where it’s important to not only understand what software features are used when a worker is at a job site, but also how they use the solution while traveling between locations. Then, when employees see that their input and thoughts are valued, they will be more likely to stay engaged and happy.

The Deskless Workforce is the Future of Work

Seeing these trends at Dreamforce was validation that the way people choose to work is changing and that deskless work is the future of work. At Skedulo, we’re relentlessly committed to setting up our customers and their mobile employees for success — whether they’re schedulers in the back office or mobile workers who interface with customers on a daily basis.

To see how we can help you better support your deskless workforce and deliver a better customer experience, book a demo today!