Not too long ago, I was a road warrior – on the road about 15 days a month – traveling domestically and internationally to sell software and solutions to clients and prospects. Traveling for work can be painful – travel requisition, booking through corporate travel desk, hotel stays, trip reports, and handling expenses can all be frustrating and time-consuming processes.
I remember (maybe I am dating myself) keeping a ragged manila envelope where I would stuff receipts from meals, miscellaneous expenses, hotel stays etc. Once back at the home office, I needed to take time out of my crazy schedule to create expense reports and go through the painful process of matching every receipt to an expense item and tagging each expense item to a project code. Every once in a while, I could get assistance from an administrative assistance – Although the assistance was usually reluctantly provided, I appreciated it nonetheless.
Things have changed and changed a great deal – with tools like Amex Receipt match, Apps like Concur, Expensify, and many others, doing expense reports has become far easier but can still be a frustrating experience depending on how much your organization embraces employee productivity.
Employees of all ages are consumers first and as consumers, they have embraced the use of a smartphone for just about everything they do in their day to day life – shopping, social engagement, banking, personal fitness, home automation etc.
At work, however, it is a different story. Organizations are adopting the use of mobile technology to provide a true ‘on-the-go’ experience to their employees. However, this adoption is slow and often times plagued by questions like – Is the organization ready for mobile?, Is there ROI in building mobile apps for corporate functions?, How should I handle security? What about BYOD and MDM? Many of these questions are valid but more often than not organizations are taking way too long to figure out the answers.
Answers do exist and in fact, there are organizations that have gone beyond these questions and are enjoying a truly mobile enabled workforce – from corporate functions to salesforce automation to field force work. The benefits are staggering – from tangible items like productivity enhancement, cost savings, revenue &profitability increases to intangibles like employee morale and satisfaction – eventually all this leads to a more satisfied customer base of these organizations.
Today for many organizations, the employee facing killer app is mobile email – Period!
In my view, if an organization is not embracing mobility enablement for its employees, partners, and customers, it is not only missing out an opportunity but heading towards obsolescence.
Over the years, functions like the ones I mentioned above – travel related functions, HR functions like leave requests and appraisals, Corporate communications, IT helpdesk have been automated through the use of enterprise software. However, this automation has seen process and policy changes over the years and often times has been implemented using complicated customization and cumbersome processes. Mobilizing these processes is the answer to getting away from this complex legacy and possibly ‘escape’ upgrade costs for your enterprise software.
Enterprises should build employee-facing, customer facing and partner facing apps – all integrated to various internal and external systems; thereby providing comprehensive functionality. Every enterprise has their own way of working and even though they may use commonly sourced enterprise software, there are always specificities driven by process nuances, industry regulation and organization culture. This is normal and every business has or claims to have its own complexities.
The trick is to look beyond the minutia and work towards harnessing new technology and adapt to the changing user behavior. Don’t lose out on the ultimate workplace productivity tool – your employees’ smartphones.