Every business needs a multi facade workforce that represents the business and its operations at different levels, each performing a unique set of duties and responsibilities. Primarily, the entire workforce is distributed into two major chunks- the knowledge workers and the frontline workers. In this article, we shall be focussing on the frontline workers, how digital transformation has impacted their work, and the challenges they face while using mobile devices.
Who are Frontline workers?
The knowledge workers carry out complex operations for the business, mostly limiting their work perimeters to a conventional desk in an office. Knowledge workers make use of the latest technology in the devices and software they use, to implement their day-to-day work tasks. Frontline workers on the other hand are the face of your business. They are quite literally on the ‘front’, facing customers, interacting with potential clients, carrying out field jobs, working on shop floors and workshops. Frontline workers form the majority of your business and are also the ones who possess the most relevant knowledge of your business units. They heavily contribute to the direct business and are also responsible for the perception of your business in the minds of your consumers.
Various, if not all, industries employ frontline workers for various operations, including:
Manufacturing and Supply Chain
Transportation and Logistics
Restaurants and Hospitality
Oil and Gas
Even a modern business like a SaaS company needs customer support executives who face the clients, interact on behalf of the business.
Challenges faced by frontline workers
Frontline workers are a crucial factor in driving business growth, which often keeps them away from traditional work perimeters. This can lead to disengagement among frontline employees. Also, since the frontline workers operate remotely, having quick access to relevant business resources and apps is essential.
In a nutshell, the challenges faced by frontline workers include:
Access to information real-time
Lack of communication leading to disengagement
Access to the latest technology
Dependence on the conventional way of working using pen and paper
Scope of error due to manual work
Digital Devices for Frontline Workers: The growing need
Frontline employees need access to the latest business resources since they essentially face the customers. The use of technology for work also ensures that business processes are improved with the help of innovative hardware and software. Your frontline workforce needs to have constant, streamlined communication with the rest of the team as well as the back office and knowledge workers. To ensure that frontline workers are equipped with the latest data irrespective of their work location, they need to be equipped with digital devices. Empowering frontline workers with digital devices also improves productivity and engagement, especially for field employees who rarely visit the physical office premises.
Corporate spend on the digitization of frontline workers is said to be increasing rapidly, simply because it has shown a positive impact on business growth as well as employee engagement.
Digitization of frontline workers: How to enable a smooth transition
The frontline workers have diverse skill sets, not necessarily pertaining to technology. This makes the digitization of them as stakeholders slightly tricky. Nevertheless, the acceptance and popularity of mobile devices for personal use across the world have made technology more accessible and understandable, yet, digitization conventional frontline processes needs a proper strategy that needs to be implemented at an organizational level.
To enable a smooth transition from conventional working styles to working with digital devices,
Create device usage policies
Educate your frontline workers about the policies
Train them to effectively use digital devices for work
Ensure enough support during the early period of transition
Organize periodic training on technology upgrades & updates
Establish dedicated support for device maintenance and troubleshooting
Quantify the benefits of digitization against the ROI
Digital Devices for Frontline Workers: The challenges
Once frontline employees are empowered with digital devices for work, IT teams enabling the digital transformation, as well as the businesses, face certain challenges which if not mitigated, can lead to a reduction in productivity, loss of business hours, and lead to negative business growth.
These challenges include:
Individually configuring the devices
Increased distractions because of apps on mobile devices
Added data costs
Added cellular costs
Loss of user privacy on shared devices
Expensive third-party communication tools
Device maintenance & troubleshooting
Updating the devices to the latest OS version
Device & data misuse
Breach of sensitive business data in case of device loss and theft
Tracking device location
Monitoring device performance
Scalefusion for Frontline Worker enablement
Digital devices when coupled with Scalefusion MDM can positively impact business growth, also offloading the trouble of the IT teams in maintaining a secure and effective digital device inventory. Scalefusion MDM can be used to manage Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS deployed for dynamic use-cases. Scalefusion also partners with OEMs to manage ruggedized devices, extensively used by the frontline workers.
Here’s how Scalefusion aids in frontline worker enablement:
Scalefusion facilitates enrollment of a large number of devices without having to individually configure the devices for work. IT admins can roll out device policies and apply them to the devices over the air. Scalefusion supports AfW zero-touch for Android devices, Apple DEP for iOs and macOS devices, and Samsung KME for Samsung Knox devices. IT admins can create policy settings and apply them to the devices before they are shipped from the warehouse to the frontline workers. Furthermore, Scalefusion partners with OEMs to configure Scalefusion MDM as an in-built feature on the said devices.
2.Comprehensive policy settings
To ensure that the devices deployed to frontline workers are strictly used for business, IT administrators can create comprehensive policy settings for device usage. They can set permissions and restrictions to ensure device security while also configuring apps to be allowed on the device. IT admins can enforce the devices to run into single-app or multi-app kiosk mode. IT can apply company branding on the devices and control hardware peripherals of the device to ensure optimum usage of the device for work. IT admins can create device groups and apply group-specific policies for the same.
Apps help in improved delivery of various functions and key responsibilities carried out by Frontline workers. With Scalefusion, IT admins can configure the latest business apps, install, uninstall or update these applications on managed devices. For Android, IT admins can choose any application from Google Play Store or Play for Work apps for enterprise-grade devices. For Apple devices, IT admins can choose from an App Store application or publish apps using Apple VPP. Enterprise apps are widely popular for operations in frontline workers. With Scalefusion, IT admins can upload their private app and publish it privately on the managed device fleet.
Scalefusion facilitates effective communication between the IT dashboard and the entire device inventory with Eva Communication Suite. Eva Communication Suite enables VoIP calling, encrypted text and voice messaging, and image transfer. IT admins can publish contact lists on managed devices and restrict incoming/outgoing calls to reduce excess cellular costs. Furthermore, IT admins can also broadcast messages, security alerts, and other notifications on the managed devices. With Eva Communication Suite, frontline workers can establish secure communication driving in the engagement of the employees with the knowledge workers and back-office management.
5.Dynamic Policy Application
To enable device sharing between frontline employees working in multiple shifts, Scalefusion enables dynamic policy application. IT admins can schedule dynamic policies at a particular time, empowering a smooth handover between multiple device users.
6.Inventory Monitoring & Automated IT tasks
With Scalefusion DeepDive, IT teams can monitor the entire device inventory including device performance and metrics including device battery, data usage, storage usage, geo-location (for Android devices), and IP-based location (for iOS devices). IT admins can keep a tab on security incidents and compliance violations such as SIM swap, wrong passcode attempts, etc using Scalefusion DeepDive. To mitigate the manual IT efforts, Scalefusion offers Workflow using which IT admins can automate and schedule recurring IT tasks and security checks. The IT team as well as the device users can be alerted when data, storage, or battery threshold limits are crossed. This helps in maintaining an efficient device inventory for the frontline workers. To enable device sharing between shift employees, Scalefusion also extends dynamic policy application.
To upkeep the device performance, Scalefusion offers Remote Cast and Control which enables the IT admins to mirror the device screens remotely on the Scalefusion dashboard. Administrators can provide step-by-step instructions to the end-users while the Remote Cast session to solve the device issues. IT admins can also take control of select Android devices to understand or resolve the device issue. Additionally, IT admins can upload, download or delete files from the managed devices and create context-aware tickets on the integrated ITSM tool to escalate the device issue.
To enable the frontline workers to have access to the latest business resources and content, Scalefusion supports content management. IT admins can push content including text, images, video, and presentations remotely on the managed devices. This content can be removed, updated, or replaced through the Scalefusion dashboard.
Empowering frontline workers with digital devices can be beneficial to business growth if they are managed efficiently. With Scalefusion, organizations and businesses can successfully drive the digital transformation of their frontline employees.
Renuka Shahane is a Sr. Content Writer at Scalefusion. An engineering graduate, an Apple junkie and an avid reader, she has a 5+ years of experience in content creation, content strategy and PR for technology and web based startups.