5 Tips for delivering successful Mobile Workforce Transformation

Posted by Leadent Solutions on November 21, 2012

Driving change and ensuring the most strategic business critical projects are successful in any organisation is easy, right? Well, not really. A recent survey by the National Audit Office indicated two thirds of change projects are completed late, over budget or do not deliver the outcome expected. This will be no news to anyone who has been involved in delivering complex change initiatives. So what’s going on?

One of the common mistakes is organisations not spending the time really challenging themselves on whether there is even a need for a change initiative or what the desired outcome is. Change for the sake of changing is not a good enough reason to change.

When organisations are implementing mobile workforce management solutions which impact people’s everyday lives, it’s even more important to manage the business change carefully. Mobile workforce management solutions include the use of intelligent work scheduling and mobile technology to dispatch work and capture data from workers in the field, so it’s extremely important to get it right and plan ahead, or very quickly your service business can suffer major dips in performance.

We’ve identified 5 success factors for organisations to consider when planning the rollout of a mobile workforce management solution:

1. Get the foundations right

Make sure you know the scale of the organisation and cultural change the new solution will bring. All too often those involved in any change initiative don’t understand how it will affect the DNA of the organisation and what the after effects will be. By the time your mobile workforce solution is in full swing it’s too late to go back and say “Oh, what I really meant was….”. Do your homework and spend the time talking with key interested stakeholders

2. Set your stall out early

Matching the mobile workforce solution to the organisational vision is critical. Employees will ask “where are we going with this?”. Making the strategic link to the solution and what the organisation is all about or the organisation’s main purpose for being must be laid out to bare in the embryonic stages of the solution. From the Board to the field engineer, everyone must understand how it fits into the vision and how they can live and breathe this during the initiative and afterwards. Board members doing a ‘Back to the Floor’ exercise need to be on the same page as the field engineer engaging with customers.

3. Stick to your guns

Be prepared for some hefty challenges from all angles. This is where managing key stakeholders is critical to the success of the mobile workforce solution. Remember, introducing mobile solutions will fundamentally change the way your organisation delivers work in the field, so rehearse the logic for doing it. How often have you heard “I’m not signing that off because I’d no idea we’d have to do that!”. Being aware of the impact a particular solution will bring is a key component of managing projects. In order to keep the momentum up and really deliver the benefits as stated in the Business Case individuals need to know how to play their part. This is where strong Executive Leadership comes in and it helps those impacted by the change to understand that the leaders believe in the outputs of the solution as well. Sometimes it’s hard to put your head above the parapet when your instinct is telling you to keep it down – be strong, follow it through and deal with any tough messages head on.

4. Drive performance and productivity by using the tools

If we think about it, this is probably the most difficult part of delivering any change initiative. You’ve done all the required project stages of the initiative and ticked all the boxes. But how are you going to deliver the benefits? There are a number of tools out there to help you measure performance and productivity, but essentially it boils down to one important factor – appetite to do it. If those impacted by the mobile workforce solution can’t make the link between the purpose of the solution and the ‘what’s in it for me’ scenario then you will have an uphill struggle. This is where the likes of management reporting, scorecards and dashboards come in. Identifying what to measure can be fraught with difficulties, but once it’s been agreed you have the means to satisfy all parties. If there’s no get out for those individuals leading teams and the excuses dry up, it’s then a case of “are you going to do this or not”. Let’s have a serious conversation if not.

5. Increase compliance by gathering evidence

Much of today’s mobile workforce pride themselves on being the only person that knows how to do certain work efficiently or how to work systems effectively. If this was the case then organisations wouldn’t need to change and we’d all be living in a matched Utopian society. Life’s not like that, and when it comes down to it, individual’s need to step up to the mark and deliver what they are supposed to be delivering to help the collective. Anecdotes and myths often become fact, especially in large organisations with multiple layers of structure and complexity. Gathering the truth verbatim can be difficult, but there are effective ways of doing this. Using a structured series of audits not only ensures sufficient layers of management are involved in the process, but it also provides ownership and a sense of urgency that we really can do something about this because it’s within our power to sort it out. Hearing proactive field engineers discuss how they are going to improve the way they do things and change some of their ways of working is music to the ears of senior management. Giving them the evidence first hand on how they can do it is something else entirely.