Conversational Analytics / 25.06.2013

How to Make Workforce Management Technology Work

According to IDC, “25 percent of IT projects fail outright. Meanwhile, 20 to 25 percent don’t provide ROI and up to 50 percent require material rework.” That’s roughly 50% of IT projects that fail or don’t provide ROI and greater than 95% of IT projects that are not successful.

Mobile Workforce Management solutions enable companies to deliver superior field service and customer satisfaction. However, a successful Mobile Workforce Management transformation is dependent upon many factors beyond simply deploying new technology. It requires a full understanding of the overall business objectives, a keen understanding of historical processes, a standard system of key performance metrics along with the organization’s current performance in those metrics, and effective communication to ensure organizational readiness and project execution.

Knowing what the business objectives of the organization are, is most often a conclusion that can be made relatively easily. The more difficult part is to understand what stands in the way of meeting those objectives.  Therefore, over the next few blog posts, we’ll give you a –step-by-step breakdown of how to lead a Successful Mobile Workforce Management Transformation at your business.

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Step 1: Identify the Problems that Need to be Addressed

Make a list of the problems you believe exist. Then, starting from within the service organization, talk with supervisors and management and elicit their input. Gather information from the technicians and other employees who report to those supervisors, and listen to what they tell you. So many problems that exist are rooted in processes at the transactional level, and oftentimes those inefficiencies go undetected by an upwardfacing management.

Recent research conducted by The Service Council brings to light some of the most common challenges that service organizations deal with today. Nearly half of the respondents (49%) cite a need to improve workforce productivity and utilization in order to optimize their field service performance. Almost as many (42%) report a desire to increase service process efficiency as a means to improve their operations. Together, these drivers indicate that service organizations continue to seek ways to drive down costs as they relate to time rather than as they relate to parts or equipment. Similarly, 39% cite customer demands for quicker response times and 35% are driven by customer demands for improved asset availability. Again, these service organizations are looking for ways to do their work more expediently, but surely without sacrificing quality or customer satisfaction.

The search for problems with the service organization extends outside of its boundaries, however. Some of the problems within the service organization are only visible from outside of it, and some inefficiencies created by the service organization manifest themselves only externally. It can be difficult to know even where to start looking for such underlying problems, so offered here is an idea of some of the top challenges reported by service organizations through recent research conducted by The Service Council:

How to Make Workforce Management Technology Work

You should notice that most of these challenges are derived from deficient interdepartmental communication. So work with other departments, namely Sales, Marketing, IT, Human Resources, and Finance. If the lines of communication with other departments are closed, then open them, and keep them open. Just the process of asking people what they think about how the service organization is running and what improvements they would like to see goes a long way in building good will. Embarking upon such team-building with other affected departments will facilitate inter-department buy-in to solutions that you may implement down the road, and will ensure that you can approach senior management with solutions as an orchestrated front rather than going it alone.

Using your list of inefficiencies, problems, and areas of improvement, identify and prioritize your goals as they relate to the organization’s business objectives. This will be especially useful later when you approach senior management, as you will be able to relate the service organization’s issues in terms of the whole organization’s issues. One critical factor is obtaining an accurate measurement of performance; data your business is using to identify efficiencies, problems and areas of improvement. This data is often the crux of the argument which justifies the Mobile Workforce Management Transformation and also the data used to determine the success of the project. It is also the data which becomes more easily accessible and accurate as a result of the deployment of a Mobile Workforce Management solution.

Tune in next week for the next step of the process: designing and comparing possible solutions. 

About Uniphore: Uniphore Software Systems is the leader in Multi lingual speech-based software solutions. Uniphore’s solutions allow any machine to understand and respond to natural human speech, thus enabling humans to use the most natural of communication modes, speech, to engage and instruct machines. Uniphore operates from its corporate headquarters at IIT Madras Research Park, Chennai, India and has sales offices in Middle East (Dubai, UAE) as well as in Manila, Philippines.