Up until a few years ago, “working” consisted of going to the office from 9 AM to 5 PMto do your job, and that was it. However, nowadays things are different. The world of work has changed. People are no longer bound to an office, and are able to work from wherever, whenever, especially due to the rise of capable mobile hardware like laptops, tablets and smartphones.
The mobile workforce is clearly on the rise and, in the United States, IDC forecasts that the mobile worker population is expected to grow over the next five years, increasing from 96.2 million in 2015 to 105.4 million mobile workers in 2020. According to IDC, by the end of the forecast period, mobile workers are expected to account for nearly three quarters (72.3 percent) of the total U.S. workforce.
This drastic increase in the mobile workforce is clearly linked to the rise of mobile devices. During the last four years alone, smartphone usage in the United States saw a growth of around 300 percent, and today the majority of people browse the web from mobile devices. This, in addition to the rise in popularity of cloud storage and technology (as well as an increased confidence in its security), has contributed to businesses increasing the size of their mobile workforces.
This migration to a more mobile workspace is requiring security-minded IT professionals to rethink mobility strategies, and to implement new mobile management solutions. Mobile workforce management (MWM), a term often used in reference to field teams, is a category of software and related services used to manage employees working outside the company premises.
The MWM market is comprised of several categories that help manage and drive productivity across field-based teams. Many MWM solutions contain out-of-the-box features, such as:
- T&E Management: Stands for “Travel & Expense” or “Travel & Entertainment”. This category assists managers and employees with the submission and approval of all necessary expenses incurred in conducting company business (e.g. meals, airfare, hotel, vehicle expenses, etc.).
- Scheduling Management: Allows managers to remotely manage employee schedules without some of the burdens often associated with that task. They also have the capability to create schedules based on skillsets, locations, dependencies and availability.
- Location Management: Provides for the management of assets, whether people or products. Functions can be divided into the monitoring of workers (in aspects such as productivity assessment, behaviors, safety, and so on) and physical assets (damages, delivery times, etc.).
- Field Activity Management: Exists to manage and provide visibility into all moving parts a business has operating outside of a central office (more info).
- Time and Attendance Management: This is one of the most important features, as time and attendance data provides for more accurate payroll processing, labor law compliance and better insights into workforce productivity.
To keep pace with the growing trends, corporate leadership often invests in MWM technologies to automate manual tasks, improve productivity/profitability, gain transparency, and reduce risk. However, sometimes these technologies end up creating a huge number of administrative tasks, making the lives of mobile workers more challenging and taking time away from the their core job functions.
This can be avoided by using a solution that minimizes the number of technologies mobile employees (and their managers) have to engage with. One great example is Motus, which eliminates disparate access points an streamlines administrative tasks by integrating with several other MWM-solutions like Oracle, Salesforce, and Concur, among others.
So, while Mobile Workforce Management technology should be considered as part of any company's mobility strategy, investment in the wrong tools increases the risk of making life more difficult for the growing population of mobile workers and their managers.