Any kind of change within a business carries an element of risk. It’s the reason there’s a tendency for organisations to take an, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach to employee management.
But it’s an attitude which can itself pose a threat to companies.
That’s because businesses who fail to embrace new opportunities are in danger of getting left behind by competitors. It’s something we are now seeing withthe rise of mobile work methods.
These methods, powered by cloud technology, allow businesses to manage and monitor their field workers remotely – wherever they may be. It has unlocked a more flexible and efficient way of working; a challenge to the rigid structures of old.
It means that companies throughout the UK are now facing a tough decision – balancing the benefits of making the switch to mobile workforce management, against the fears of adopting a fresh approach.
This has been the subject of some recent research by the Mobile Work Exchange. They carried out a survey of companies throughout the USA to identify the barriers preventing companies from making the switch.
So what’s holding people back from moving to mobile?
- Security concerns – 56%
- Costs – 52%
- Lack of technology – 48%
- Management resistance – 29%
- Cultural barriers – 26%
Here’s a look at the top five reasons:
The main reason for not switching to mobile, selected by 56% of respondents, was a concern about the security of data. It’s a perception that cloud computing has wrestled with since the technology first emerged in the early 2000s.
But it’s a concern which has given rise to some major advances in the way cloud companies ensure data remains secure. With powerful encryption and advanced firewalls, modern data centres represent the cutting edge in security.
These improvements to protection are highlighted by the fact that the CIA recently transferred a large part of their data network over to the cloud.
For 52% of respondents it was the perceived cost of a switch to mobile workforce management which acted as the barrier. It is a surprising finding as cost savings are what is fuelling the rapid adoption of mobile tech in both the public and private sectors.
The cloud based nature of mobile work tools means that organisations can drastically reduce the cost of their on-site IT. Allowing employees to operate from wherever they have an online connection also means less reliance on offices and building costs.
An indication of the way mobile work is helping organisations become more efficient has been shown by the £1.8 billion of savings attributed to the move to mobile within the NHS.
Lack of Technology
A fear of the technology required to move over to mobile was the reason given by 48% of those surveyed. The majority of mobile workforce management systems, however, require much less technology than a traditional office set-up.
Accessing a cloud service requires little more than a consumer level computer or handheld device with any of the complex networking and processing tasks handled remotely by the service provider. Software such as MyMobileWorkers requires nothing more advanced than a basic computer and a set of standard Android phones.
While this was selected by only 29% of respondents, it poses one of the greatest challenges for organisations to overcome. It goes back to the innate fear of change and the reluctance to move away from traditional methods of management we’re familiar with.
But it’s a perception which often results from a lack of information. It’s a fear of the unknown which fades as an organisation learn more about how mobile systems work.
The main factor likely to remove this barrier is simply time. With predictions that 40% of American workers will be operating remotely by 2020, these methods are increasingly going to become the norm.
This was a reason given by 26% of those quizzed. It’s closely linked to management resistance and reflects a business culture which is struggling to adapt to change.
When you consider that the first offices date back to C14th Florence, it is hardly surprising that there is resistance to new methods which challenge the traditional ways of managing workers – paper sheets, schedules, offices, meetings.
Time to switch to mobile workforce management
For increasing numbers of organisations, rather than being a threat, the switch to mobile workforce management is an empowering process. Removing the old shackles and finding powerful new ways to manage happier and more efficient employees.