In the 14th annual State of the CIO survey, released in January, mobility investments ranked #1 in importance with line-of-business (LOB) managers and #2 with CIOs. It seems organizations are facing a fair number of mobile initiatives, largely because the value of mobilizing the workforce is so high.
It goes without saying that mobility empowers workers to find information and resolve issues faster. Sometimes, though, mobility even makes it possible to add business components that generate new revenue streams. For example, mobile insurance adjusters and public safety personnel can complete certain jobs out in the field, rather than having to return to an office to finish the paperwork.
In some industries, the value of always knowing what’s going on in the field is paramount. If you’re in trucking, knowing where all of the fleet is and which driver is closest to a given job boosts efficiency and, in the same breath, paves the way to customer loyalty and retention. Just generally letting employees work on their own terms by letting them access their workspace – their apps, data and services – from anywhere has the potential to create a more satisfied employee. That could mean less turnover and fewer costs associated with churn for the company.
If you are planning to invest and need financial justification for your projects, remember that, as with any IT initiative, there are two primary buckets of benefits to consider:
- Quantitative (ROI) benefits: From a pure numbers perspective, are you containing costs or increasing revenue or profit? Certain operational returns are easy to calculate, particularly if they involve eliminate entire steps from a process.
- Qualitative benefits: These are the almost unlimited benefits of embracing mobility described earlier. These could be increases in worker productivity, customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and so forth. They contribute indirectly rather than directly to the bottom line. But their contributions can be game changing.
To measure the qualitative benefits, set up key performance indicators (KPIs) for evaluating the success of each aspect of your mobile initiative. For example, if the goal of a given initiative is to empower your fleet to make 20% more deliveries in a day or improve on-time arrivals by 30%, set up a reporting system that tracks this data before and after the new mobile processes and apps take effect and compare at regular intervals.
If there’s a customer-facing mobile initiative in the works, such as a customer loyalty program in a retail environment, track KPIs such as the number of customer application downloads and the number of active users in the system at predetermined frequencies. This will help you determine your retention rate compared with the amount you invested in the mobile customer loyalty app.
And, similarly, you can set up KPIs to measure the payoff of enabling employees to access their workspace from anywhere. That could include tracking the number of issues that get resolved in a given amount of time or measuring a decrease in employee turnover.
By setting these KPIs and associated tracking systems for all initiatives, you’ll be able to see if your mobile efforts are indeed paying off.