A recent survey by Strategy Analytics predicted that the total global mobile workforce will rise to a staggering 1.87 billion by 2022, a figure which equates to 42.5% of the total workforce. The spread of good Wi-Fi access and increasing levels of 4G coverage, combined with rapid advances in mobile technology, have resulted in mobile working becoming a reality for more and more businesses out there. In fact, a 2014 survey by Office Angels found that one third of workers think that commuting to work will be unheard of by 2036, suggesting that mobile working is very much the way forward.
With ‘mobile working’ once restricted to email and phone calls, the rise of enterprise applications especially over the last 12 months has led to more businesses embracing mobile working in its true form, changing the way they operate, increasing efficiencies and enabling employees to work remotely without any compromise to performance.
One area where new solutions are doing away with unnecessary complexities is payroll. With the right solution in place, organisations can provide employees with remote access to their payroll-related information such as personal data, pension information, holiday entitlement, payslips and P60s. Not only can employees access this data on the go via a mobile device or web browser, but the capability is there to edit their own information too. This remote, ‘self-service’ access for employees takes the pressure off busy payroll teams by eliminating payslip printing and postage and the extra admin involved, as well as the time it takes to respond to employee enquiries. With employees responsible for their own data entry, there’s also less margin for error as no re-keying of data is required, which is often where mistakes occur. What results is a faster, more efficient service provided to all employees, and a payroll team which has to spend less time on admin, leaving them more time to focus on value-add activities.
A different area of the business that can benefit from mobile solutions is sales. The time lapse that occurs between taking an order while visiting a customer and the actual placement of the order with head office can lead to delays in fulfilment and even cancelled orders if the required items are not in stock. But the capability now exists to place orders instantly via a mobile device while with the customer.
Mobile apps are available with a live link to the back-office order processing system so that sales orders can be placed instantly, including taking the customer’s signature, without the usual delays in orders being submitted to HQ. The sales person can check stock levels and the customer’s account status, including customer-specific pricing; they can also suggest alternatives for out-of-stock items and showcase additional products. This minimises the possibility of orders being cancelled due to stock unavailability and can add extra value to a sale. Working in this way also reduces admin time for sales people, allowing them to spend more time on the road pursuing further orders. The sales cycle is shortened, with order updates readily available every step of the way, increasing efficiencies for the business and improving the overall experience for the customer too.
Another area that can be significantly enhanced by remote access is employee timesheets. Regardless of their location, employees can use an online application that creates a smooth workflow for the completion, submission and authorisation of timesheets and automates their inclusion into the payroll run. This means there’s no need for the payroll team to import numerous spreadsheet-based timesheets for every payroll run, again greatly reducing the time spent on admin and the margin for error.
The business world is playing catch-up to the increasingly powerful, intuitive and useful consumer mobile apps that are part of our everyday lives, developing enterprise solutions which create much-needed business efficiencies. As more and more businesses recognise the many and varied benefits that true mobile working can bring, these enterprise solutions will only improve further still. Exciting times ahead, so watch this space.
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