Empowering the deskless workforce

Ever since CAF started developing digital solutions in 2010 we have found that we can deliver solid returns on investment for enterprise customers who use our services to empower their deskless workforce. In this article we describe the opportunity, identify challenges and explain why and how CAF’s bespoke approach truly enables workforce empowerment. If you would like to hear more about what CAF can do to support your Mobile ambition, please reach out to us. 

Mobile apps offer a chance to boost the productivity of deskless workers. Google estimates that 80% of the global workforce is performing physical or deskless work daily. This includes those working on their feet in settings like hospitals, construction sites, farms, shops or warehouses. Yet many of these deskless workers are left with antiquated technology solutions and processes. Things are improving as mobile solutions are becoming increasingly available to the deskless workforce, with positive trends both on the demand and supply side. 

Workers already love Mobile - An ever-growing share of workers state that their Mobile is very important to their work. A 2012 survey of US government employees was already reporting that 40% of employees used their mobile devices to perform work-related tasks and over 50% agreed with the statement that “employees cannot do their jobs effectively without using their mobile devices”.

BYOD gains popularity - Businesses are increasingly allowing workers to use their own mobile devices at work. 74% of organisations already have or plan to have Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in place according to Tech Pro Research (2015). 

A growing number of generic mobile solutions - More venture capital investment and entrepreneurs are focusing on developing mobile applications for business. The diagram below (from Emergence Capital) shows that there is a wide range of mobile apps solving business challenges, from generic “Productivity” needs (e.g. Content, Communication, Calendar, Forms, etc…) to more industry-specific challenges (e.g. for workers in Healthcare, Construction, Retail, etc...).

But “there’s an app for that” is no longer enough… You may find that some of the apps listed in the above diagram provide helpful solutions to your workforce in the short run, but in our experience a collection of generic apps is rarely going to offer a satisfactory long term solution for enterprises:

●  each enterprise has its own IT and API integration challenges
●  each enterprise has its own specific workflows
●  the product roadmap of 3rd party suppliers may not align to your needs in the long term
●  no single off-the-shelf app can address all of your functional requirements, so you’ll end up using a wide range of different apps that then creates silos of information, complex processes and management headaches 

Given these limitations we believe that the best long term solution for enterprises is to invest in the development of bespoke mobile solutions that fully integrate with existing IT systems, accommodate specific workflow requirements and encompass a wider range of use cases so as to limit information silos. 

At CAF we focus on the bespoke design, development and optimisation of mobile solutions for enterprise customers. Empowering the deskless workforce has been the focus of a number of our projects and we have repeatedly delivered significant returns on investment, usually in the form of:
● productivity boost, from cutting down on the time required to complete admin tasks
● improved quality of service, enabled by quicker access to information
● improved employee satisfaction and retention 

Here are examples of such projects delivered by CAF in the last two years:

● Network Rail - we built a number of mobile solutions to enable Network Rail field engineers to quickly report (with photographic evidence) any health & safety issues, infrastructure or equipment damage, theft incidents and other issues
● Rentokil Initial - we built an app for Rentokil’s Service Technicians to view their daily / weekly schedule of customer visits along with the geographic location and actions related to each specific visit. At the end of the visit the Service Technicians can then complete a visit report along with notes, before moving on to the next visit
● London Ambulance Services - we built an app used by paramedics to quickly determine a recommended course of actions when they first get into contact with a patient. The app essentially uses a guided path logic to narrow down to the right action depending on numerous parameters specific to each intervention (e.g. patient demographics, symptoms, consciousness, etc…)
● Kantar - with the Data Catalogue app Kantar’s salesforce can quickly access on an iPad and present to their clients any Kantar research paper and sales collateral
● Waitrose - on a daily basis Waitrose store managers can access a dashboard of performance metrics for their store from their mobile device, enabling faster decision making     

We feel strongly about empowering employees with mobile solutions - please reach out if you would like to discuss how we can help you on this exciting journey.