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Micah Fairchild 5 Must-Haves for A Mobile Workforce Management Software Solution

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 By Micah Fairchild

Your Go-To Guide for Mobile Workforce Management Software

Spend any time in the services, manufacturing, or telecommunications industries and chances are that you'll quickly start to see how pressing the need is for effective mobile workforce management software (WMS) solutions. Whether you're a restaurant manager tasked with multi-site scheduling; a communication (i.e. telephone, internet, etc.) services supervisor faced with deploying 100s of field service technicians; or even a plant foreman charged with sourcing countless raw materials for production, mobile workforce management software solutions can mean the difference between getting the job done versus getting the job done quickly. And companies are taking notice of this. In fact, recent research from the Aberdeen Group highlights that 53% of organizations are already using some type of mobile workforce management software in their current operations.

This upward trend continues across the pond as well—with the SRH University of Applied Sciences at Heidelberg citing recent study figures that a whopping 75% of the top German organizations see workforce management as "increasingly important" (yet only 33% utilize the right workforce management software). While these numbers are a far cry from full industry adoption, the trend is nevertheless apparent and even research firm Gartner has weighed in on the recent development--forecasting that by 2014 almost 90% of all companies will be leveraging some type of workplace application via mobile device.

With all of this attention for mobile workforce management software, it might be tempting to rush out and buy the first solution that looks like a reasonable fit. Unfortunately there's a lot you need to know before you jump into a relationship with a workforce software vendor. Namely, what it is exactly that you need from your mobile HR software solution. Here's our list of the top 5 "must-haves" for a mobile workforce management application.

Mobile WMS Must Have # 1: Scheduling Management

Also referred to as "schedule optimization" solutions, the ability to mobile manage schedules is of paramount importance to a workforce management software solution. Aside from easing some of the actual logistical burdens of scheduling, the most effective of these solutions also provide capabilities for creating schedules based on skillsets, locations, dependencies and availability. This is a particularly strategic tool when working with varying complexity jobs (as in the case of field service technicians). Additional scheduling features to look for include presence (location), urgency, and cost functions.

Mobile WMS Must Have # 2: Location Management

From an operational standpoint, location management is a method of monitoring assets (whether people or products) and deploying them as needed. Typically this means that "Location Management" functions are split into the monitoring of workers (to assess productivity, behaviors, safety, compliance, etc.) and the monitoring of physical assets (to assess damages, delivery times, etc.). Given the size and scope of the Location Management function, few elements are as important to have be a part of a mobile workforce management software solution.

Mobile WMS Must Have # 3: Job Order Management

In much the same way that an HRMS needs to be able to handle multiple position types, the "Job Order Management" function needs to be able to handle multiple job types (and templates), work orders, and scenarios. In its broadest sense, this "must-have" of workforce management software is a direct derivative of project management, with highly effective solutions including options for performance management, workflow monitoring, reporting, and work order escalation.

Mobile WMS Must Have # 4: Forms Management

Seen in countless HR software applications outside of workforce management, the "Forms Management" function is specifically designed to handle logistical and compliance-driven tasks. Though a great deal of most "forms" functionalities are related to time and attendance software (capturing and reviewing time clock data), best-in-class solutions also have the capability of handling I-9 functionality and work permits. Further, the right workforce management software solution will also allow for remote approvals of leave balances, approvals, and necessary notifications.

Mobile WMS Must Have # 5: Support Management

Tantamount to success these days with mobile workforce applications is the ability to move back and forth between multiple devices. Perhaps more than any other functionality of mobile workforce management software, efficient and effective information transfer via varied devices is a must-have for instant availability, collaboration, and completion. As such, look for solutions that tout their support management function, and make sure to explore their solutions thoroughly.

Bottom-Line for Mobile Workforce Management Software

The latest research from Frost & Sullivan points to the fact that wholly 40% percent of organizations that leverage mobile workforce management software consider it to be integral to reaching business goals. While we mentioned the service, telecommunication, and manufacturing industries earlier, truth be told that companies involved with distribution, construction, retail, health care, transportation, and government are all likely to see substantial gains in workforce insight and productivity by deploying a mobile WMS solution. Further, with the increasing consumerization of the workforce, and the increase in cloud solution delivery, implementations are able to happen faster and capabilities are able to be delivered sooner. Just don't forget what your organization is looking for when it goes hunting for the right mobile workforce management software solution. End

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Recent research from the Aberdeen Group highlights that 53% of organizations are already using some type of mobile workforce management software in their current operations."

 

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