Digital transformation is the process of integrating digital tools into every part of the business, including customer success, sales, marketing, operations, IT, and the mobile workforce. But digital transformation is much more than buying and deploying new software—to be successful, the transformation has to reinforce digital-driven business processes, systems, and company culture.
Digital transformation is highly individualized based on the employees, customers, and services offered, but regardless of industry, digitally mature companies are 26% more profitable than their peers. A company with 1,000 HVAC repair technicians will have different needs for booking, scheduling, and completing jobs than a company with 25 behavioral therapists, but each one can benefit from the simplicity and efficiency offered by successful digital transformation.
Organizations with a large deskless workforce often see even greater value from digital transformation than desk-based workforces. Workers in the field need intelligent scheduling, communication, support, note-taking, and routing tools to have safe, productive interactions with customers each day. However, there are plenty of factors—tools that are slow to implement, challenging to use, or don’t provide the necessary visibility into workforce operations—that hold companies back from the full ROI of digital transformation.
Companies considering digital tools as part of a larger transformation strategy should carefully consider the options available to them and find tools that successfully address the most critical needs of their employees—and don’t discount scheduling as one of those critical needs.
Common Pitfalls of Digital Transformation
Customer expectations are higher than ever, so not only are companies competing with other companies, they’re also competing with their customers’ best overall digital experiences. These high standards put pressure on companies to digitally transform, but there are several common obstacles to look out for:
- Lack of visibility and transparency into operations: Some businesses still use a siloed approach to adopting technologies, with individual tools for specific teams or uses that don’t integrate with one another. Without the right integrations, employees may use “homegrown” solutions—typically manual processes—to fill in the gaps that remain, which undermines the entire digital transformation. For true visibility into your mobile workforce, you need a holistic view of data and systems across departments, with permission structures that keep information secured appropriately.
- Slow implementation timeline: One thing that’s become evident as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic is that a time-consuming implementation process for new tools just won’t cut it. If you incorporate tools that take a significant amount of time to implement, you’ll slow down your overall transformation strategy—and potentially need to ditch your efforts altogether. As your organization looks to remain competitive, drive business value, and better support its deskless workers, be sure that the technologies you prioritize don’t require months (and significant IT support from your organization) to get up and running.
- Pushback or slow response to change: Most organizations have, at one point or another, invested in a technology that doesn’t end up being used by employees. This most frequently occurs when the tool has complex features, a poor user experience, or an error-prone interface, making it more difficult than it is helpful to use out in the field. It can be tempting to adopt technologies that promise unmatched capabilities, but don’t fall into the costly trap of valuing a tool’s potential over its actual usability by your employees.
- Tool sprawl: Deskless workers need a variety of technologies to remain successful in the field. A single mobile employee might have an app to collect and drive data, an app to track time on the job, another to optimize travel and map logistics, and yet another for messaging communication and collaboration. But using so many disparate tools leads to fragmentation that hinders workers’ efficiency and productivity.
Find out how Skedulo fits into your Digital Transformation journey
What is Automated Scheduling?
Automated scheduling is software that optimizes the entire scheduling process by matching the right employee to the right job based on skills, certifications, job location, employee location, customer preferences, travel time, and more. Often referred to as advanced scheduling in manufacturing, modern automated scheduling technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) to easily handle high capacity scheduling requests and create fully-optimized schedules that suit your business needs.
Automated scheduling is the digitally mature version of antiquated, manual scheduling, and it eliminates the many challenges that manual methods cause. Last minute appointment requests, cancellations, or a worker who can’t come in for the day can throw a huge wrench in the manual scheduling process; on the other hand, automated scheduling software relieves staff schedulers of the burden of dealing with these types of common issues, reducing the time and effort otherwise required to check and update schedules, locate workers, and identify the right employee for the job. This allows schedulers and administrative staff to focus on more pressing issues that require a human touch, such as communicating with prospective customers, answering big-picture capacity questions, and responding to urgent requests.
For organizations with a deskless workforce, the ability to generate, maintain, and adjust schedules at any given time is a must. The scheduling process can make or break both the employee and customer experience, so incorporating AI-assisted scheduling into the digital transformation strategy is a no-brainer.
How Scheduling Fits in the Digital Transformation Puzzle
Automated scheduling tools can have a major impact on your deskless workforce. Here’s how adopting the right scheduling software can benefit your mobile workforce operations:
Provides Transparency into Availability and Demand
Intelligent, advanced scheduling software takes into account both employee and customer data to properly match the deskless worker to a job. Because it can be easily integrated with your existing systems, it also provides a real-time, bird’s eye view into worker availability and customer demand, so everyone is always on the same page—even in the field.
This prevents a worker from showing up to a canceled or rescheduled job, avoids multiple workers showing up to the same job, and gives real-time visibility into where mobile workers are, without making a manual phone call to someone traveling from one job to another.
Deskless workers know that they’re always looking at the most up-to-date version of their schedules, so they can make informed decisions about accepting or rejecting new appointments. And in the back office, managers can rely on the tool’s accurate reporting to identify scheduling trends (like busy times, lulls in appointment requests, or delays) to better plan for workforce capacity.
Eliminates Inefficient Manual Processes
By using a manual scheduling approach, you’re inviting more operational inefficiencies and mistakes than necessary. The unforeseen, inevitable factors (i.e. urgent appointment requests, cancellations, employees out on sick leave, etc.) make manual scheduling a headache for staff schedulers, who must constantly stay on top of these changes but don’t have the proper tools to do so.
Automated scheduling connects data from your other tools, so you no longer have to rely on staff schedulers to input details into spreadsheets or bombard deskless workers with scheduling updates. AI decision-making can be personalized for the organization, allowing schedulers to prioritize certain factors—i.e. location or worker certification—within the scheduling engine. When the schedule is updated, it is automatically pushed to all relevant employees in a single platform, reducing the risk of human error or miscommunication.
Ensures and Simplifies Compliance
Your deskless workers expect—and deserve—fair, stable, predictable schedules. Because employee satisfaction and engagement are so important to managing a mobile workforce, you need tools that will ensure advance notice of schedules. What’s more, you could face serious legal issues if you fail to ensure compliance with scheduling regulations, such as fair scheduling laws.
Advanced scheduling software gives you the tools you need to comply with regulations and exceed workers’ expectations. With automated scheduling, you can easily generate and share schedules ahead of time, communicate real-time scheduling updates via push notifications, manage complex schedules, and even collect key data directly from the field, so mobile workers don’t have to spend extra time inputting customer information at the end of the day.
Increases Employee Engagement & Technology Adoption
Changing your processes and tools can be stressful for employees, especially those who are likely comfortable with what they’re already using in the field. Busy deskless workers and staff schedulers don’t have the time to troubleshoot complex, finicky technologies. Investing in tools that are difficult to learn can lead to frustration, burnout, and a refusal to actually use what you’ve already paid to implement.
Scheduling is such an essential part of the success of your mobile workforce, so equip your team with technology that makes it simpler, not harder, to create and update staff schedules. Look for an automated scheduling tool that is intuitive, easy to use, and reduces barriers to successful customer interactions.
Improves Customer Experience
Proper scheduling is essential for ensuring a great customer experience. Missed appointments, delays, or an unqualified worker showing up for a job can drive your customers into the arms of your competition.
Automated scheduling software eliminates these risks and boosts customer satisfaction with tools to avoid double-bookings, scheduling an employee with the wrong skills, sending a worker with the wrong equipment, or miscalculating travel time. It ensures your deskless workers are prepared and qualified for every job, ensuring a great customer experience.
Automated Scheduling, Digital Transformation, and The Deskless Workforce
The deskless workforce is growing, and organizations need the right tools to ensure efficiency, productivity, and a competitive edge. For businesses that rely on a mobile workforce, moving from manual to automated, intelligent scheduling is a huge leap for digital maturity.
Scheduling is a unique operations activity that has a major effect on both customers and employees. By elevating scheduling to a priority within your digital transformation, leaders can ensure a better experience for customers, who book appointments and receive services faster, as well as employees, who get more certainty and autonomy in their day-to-day work.
Skedulo’s deskless productivity cloud is a mobile-first platform that includes automated scheduling technology, bringing together the tools and processes you’ve implemented throughout digital transformation into one, worker-centric system.
Learn more about how to find the right technology for your mobile workforce.