Top 5 Mobile Workforce Software Trends
You’ve probably noticed: Mobile devices have increasingly become the way people get information when they need it. Millennials – the most recent entrants into the workforce – spend an average of nearly 50 DAYS per year checking their mobile devices.
Even so, there’s far more potential to be realized: Of the roughly three billion people in the global workforce, 80 percent don’t work at desks. Yet the bulk of businesses' investments in software have been to support of the 20 percent bound to desks.
In short, there’s both a tremendous opportunity and need for vendors to cater to the mobile enterprise market. The specifics will vary by industry, of course, but there are some common trends at play.
1) Integrated functionality
For years, field workers have had relatively simple devices that could address one or two tasks – diagnostics, billing, updated info, etc. – but were of no help for many other parts of the job. Now workers are expecting the device to serve as a multifunctional tool, and companies are seeing other sales and revenue opportunities that mobile technology makes possible. In some instances, the companies will load up a device with 20 or so apps. In others, they’ll look for applications that address a wide range of tasks within themselves.
2) Bring your own device (within limits)
It simplifies the life of the end-user to use a business app on a device he’s familiar with. And given the strong affinity the younger workforce has for their devices, it makes sense to accommodate them. While BYOD can save expenses for an organization that might otherwise have to issue its own hardware, it puts extra pressure on the IT department to support more than, say, a single operating system, but some companies are already beginning to address the security part of the mobility equation. And some are drawing the lines at older devices, so leave your BlackBerry Curve at home.
3) Flexible platforms
In the past, apps were “hard-coded” for use with a specific supporting platform. That becomes a problem when you’re asking an app to integrate with several other programs. Developers are striving to reduce these barriers and the work associated with them by creating more accommodating technology. But flexibility doesn’t mean generic apps: vendors are zooming in on the discrete needs of different industries, small businesses and servicing organizations so techs have everything they need to do their jobs and not a lot of irrelevant screens and options.
4) Getting ready for IoT
As smarts are built into everything from cars to refrigerators, companies will take more of a proactive than reactive approach to maintenance and repair. While the numbers are not huge at the moment, Gartner predicts that by 2021, one million IoT devices will be sold every hour of every day. Companies are planning now on how they redo their processes to take advantage of the efficiencies IoT allows.
5) Beefing up security
As information is more widely shared through IoT and received by BYOD-toting workers, the potential for leaks goes up. New methods such as mobile device management (MDM) software are aimed at giving IT departments control of information to limit their vulnerability to hackers.
Just scratching the surface
Smartphones, tablets and the like have become so ubiquitous that the release of a new model may prompt more yawns than cheers. But in the enterprise market, the potential for their use is just starting to wake up.