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With new apps and services, IT connects deskless workers to biz

Matthew Finnegan | Nov. 11, 2017
Messaging apps and mobile services from companies like Zinc and Crew are springing up to help connect workers not bound to a desk with colleagues in the office.

While field service management tools have been around for some time, these are not as accessible as standalone apps such as those from Crew and Zinc. “This makes them more flexible tools that can address a wider range of use cases,” said Castañón-Martínez.

Why invest in deskless workforce tools?

One of the advantages of connecting these workers is that they can provide feedback on operations from the frontline. 

“They could be factory workers, they could be retail, there is really no limit to how many people do  not feel as engaged and are not being leveraged to improve business,” said IDC research director Wayne Kurtzman. “Digital transformation is changing that; they are becoming part of the collaborative structure, and there is a lot of value by working with the people who are front and center to key operations.” 

Often, these are the employees who deal with customers face to face. They can help highlight problems that executives back in corporate offices may not come across.

“In a retail operation, you have people who are dealing with the customers directly; …they identify things that are working and not working and there is a slow, tedious change to get that action taken care of,” said Kurtzman.

“When you bring in this population and make them part of the process of making things better, they can [deliver] feed-back in real time to improve the customers’ experience.” 

Facebook Workplace2 Facebook

Workplace by Facebook.

One example is Starbucks’ use of Facebook Workplace, where each barista, who is also a deskless worker, can share feedback on best practices and highlight what customers are asking for. ‘There is an engagement that improves employee morale, and there is a real business benefit to having real-time information that can be utilized,” said Kurtzman. 

Another benefit is the ability to share knowledge more effectively.

Vivint Smart Home has 2,000 staffers using Zinc’s mobile platform, including service technicians and sales staff. “One of the challenges is that we have these professionals in the field who have a wealth of experience and information that they have accumulated over years of working with our product and with our customers,” said Kyle Christensen, Vivint's director of corporate communications.

“This sort of tribal knowledge that they have acquired was being siloed, or not shared [among] themselves as a result of not having a place for teams and peers to collaborate with one another,” he said. “That was one of the primary things that we wanted to address: How do we spread the overall knowledge of our employees so that we are more effective at delivering for our customers?”

 

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