SEPTEMBER 2015

The rising importance of mobility for operational success

Better Decisions Require Improved Data Access

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Whether part of an initiative to better serve customers or simply reduce operational costs, process improvement is the foundation for operational excellence. However, making these process improvements is easier said than done. The operational environment has become increasingly complex, and managing operational processes and data being generated is also becoming more of a challenge (Figure 1).

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At the same time, the "decision window" is continually shrinking. Being able to make effective decisions in a shorter timeframe is becoming essential to success. So what does this all come down to? Organizations need the right proccesses and tools in place to improve not only the quality, but also the timliness of decision making. A key factor for improved decision making is introducing enablers to speed up operational processes. Successful companies have realized that mobile tools, when applied properly, can help their employees to overcome the challenges that occur when making decisions from operational data (see sidebar).

Companies that turn to mobility see improvements in their workflow efficiency because of faster decision making. In fact, companies with mobility saw a 15% decrease in "time-to-decision" over the past year, those without mobility saw a 5% increase. Being able to make decisions in a faster time frame boils down to improved operational process management. This can be shown as increased productivity on the assembly line, improved customer service out in the field, or reduced latency in time to make decisions for sales operations.

These are many uses for mobility and the applications can span across numerous operational roles:

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Win the attention battle:

Employees today are pushed for time and attention. Social media notifications, emails, text messages, or alerts occupy the attention of your employees. Enter that battle and win your workers’ attention by providing information that is right on their phone, easy to consume, immediately ready for action and relevant to their interests and needs. Only on mobile phones can you reach your employees with timely and targeted contextual messages, letting you be confident that your messages are more directly reaching your employees.

 

Mobile Millennials:

Millennials comprise roughly 30 percent of the population and are highly influential in the workforce as they shape the way all employees consume information. They like mobile technology because it’s “always there”, instantaneous, and easy. Your employees increasingly expect to interact through mobile. Mobile tools are not just important for attracting and retaining key talent; mobile is becoming the default way to communicate.
 

Driving access and efficiency throughout the enterprise:

Internal Communications leaders have struggled to better integrate “deskless” workers into the broader organization. Field technicians, retail workers, traveling salespeople, plant workers, warehouse managers, and drivers are often out of the loop. The same is temporarily true for new employees after an acquisition or merger, who may not yet have full access to every system of the combined organization. Mobile devices of offer a common denominator for communications, connecting employees to each other and the broader organization.

Improving customer service:

Engaged and well-informed employees are simply more productive and better prepared. More importantly, mobile internal communication can be an important aspect of improving customer relationships. Your employees in sales, service, and support are the nearest link to your customer, so connecting them to the information flow and their colleagues helps them to respond to customer needs and complaints more quickly and accurately.
 

Personalizing communications for your employees via Mobile:

Your internal communications team wants to deliver the right communication to the right people. Mobilizing your internal communication strategy opens that unique advantage. Thanks to location-based services and calendar integration, your messages can be tailored to each employee’s geographical location. For example, communications around regional pricing, local town hall meetings and localized information will become a competitive advantage. And even notices like local news or an emergency office closure message can now be sent to those that need to know, local employees and those who will be travelling to that location soon.

Focus on the possibilities not the limitations:

Ignore all current limitations with reach. This is no longer a challenge as mobile communication can reach nearly all of your employees. Start by mapping out the biggest pain points within the primary functions of your organization, such as operations, sales, marketing, and customer service. Then pinpoint how you would talk to those employees if reaching them is no longer a problem. These could be project-based communications like a merger, new management, or value chain-related communications like pricing changes, training or regulatory requirements.
 

Next, segment your audience and personalize communications:

With the ability to reach all employees alike, it’s easier to target communications to specific groups of employees based on their job role, their need to know, and even their interests and behaviors. Feedback mechanisms and social media tactics (likes, shares and comments) help your internal communication experts to understand the impact and relevancy of your messages. Adjust your communications and test what works best for your organization, your culture, and your goals.
 

Employee Engagement:

With unobstructed communication access, you can engage your employees more actively than ever before. Encourage them to ask questions and allow them to share ideas. This will make them ultimately more engaged and more productive. Use the opportunity to run polls, such as voting on where to hold the next company retreat. Or use surveys to learn how the organization is dealing with important corporate changes. And thanks to the amazing increase in

Think real life, think real time:

For storms, office closings, illness outbreaks, security breaches, and last-minute meetings are situations that require real-time communication – enter mobile alerts! For critical information, an interactive mobile alert can include a request for user confirmation that the message was received and understood. You’re not just improving communication quality, you might save lives.
 

Turn training into excitement:

Your employees love to learn, but training can be time consuming. Look for opportunities where mobile can supplement or even replace traditional classroom training or those long and expensive online courses. By reinventing training information into short chapters that are provided periodically, your employees can complete educational requirements and have some fun as each training fits into their lives.
 

Measure impact, not activity:

You are putting great pressure on your Internal Communications departments to demonstrate the value proposition of their programs – and you should. Now you can empower them to measure results. Thanks to modern mobile platforms they are able to show the impact of their work (views, reaction, comments) and not just their activity. Add a few quick user polls and you can deliver specific feedback on what worked and what didn’t. With that, communication aligns with your business objectives, just like it should.

 

Boost Mobile Adoption and Success

Your communication needs to be a positive and productive experience for your employees. Now that you can reach all employees, you are finally able to drive real impact. Consider these rules of engagement:

Keep it simple:

To get people on board, keep it simple, especially at the start. Mobile communication follows the same basic rules as other channels: Be rich and engaging but not overwhelming. Now that you can push alerts, reminders, video and questions any time and to anyone, you need to be even more disciplined. Too much too soon could alienate people. Through regular tracking and feedback, your communication team can determine the right amount of content and the right audience targeting.
 

You only have one shot:

Remember, on mobile you are competing with Facebook, WhatsApp, text messages, alerts and hundreds of notifications. Be concise and clear. Now that you are on their phone, every word counts. Think in terms of bite-size chunks of information, not pages of scrolling. Use microblogs and not articles. Share 30-second videos from the CEO and not a 15-minute speech.

Listen and learn:

Today‘s employees are more advanced than you can imagine with their phones; they expect frequent updates and state of the art user experiences. Keep pace, incorporate feedback, measure results and adjust as necessary.

Welcome to a bright future of mobile communication. Tools that created multi-billion markets for external communication are now available to drive your internal communication. Finally, you have all the ingredients you need to make a positive and powerful difference on employee engagement, productivity, and retention.

Other enterprise mobility articles you might be interested in:

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