Workforce data analysis is now a crucial aspect for your business to improve efficiencies and grow. In this piece, Neil Harvey, Kirona Chief Technical Officer, goes into detail as to why this is.
Why is workforce data analysis crucial for your business? The Two key factors are your workforce and your data. The former is the brains and bodies that undertake the work, and the latter is the information that helps you make more tactical and strategic decisions. One carries out essential operations, while the other helps to enhance and optimise those operations.
Digital workforce solutions bring these two factors together. They enable the collection and analysis, en masse, of data relating to your workforce and specifically the tasks that they’re undertaking. In turn, this data can be put to work in a range of sophisticated and highly beneficial ways, which ultimately help organisations across a wide cross-section of sectors to work more efficiently.
How? There are three broad stages to consider.
1) Understanding a complex workforce
Workforces can be complex in terms of their scale and diversity – multiple teams and departments, geographically dispersed and moving between different locations – but they can also be complex in terms of the actual tasks they are carrying out. Field operatives, for example, are typically responsible for a wide range of both proactive and reactive tasks.
Proactive tasks can be predicted to a certain degree, since they are carried out according to a predefined schedule or overarching strategy, whilst reactive tasks may be received mere minutes before they need to be undertaken, depending on urgency. This means that organisations with field-based workforces need to have visibility of multiple layers of jobs or tasks, many of which are entirely unpredictable, in order to have any understanding of day-to-day operations.
Achieving this visibility without a mobile workforce management solution often requires multiple disparate communication channels and a fair amount of guesswork – and doing it in real-time is almost impossible. In turn, this means identifying how the day’s work, both proactive and reactive, is progressing against schedule can be extremely difficult.
By contrast, workforce management software enables organisations to track each individual worker and the tasks they carry out in real-time, and analyse that progression for the workforce as a whole.
2) Developing actionable insights
Such visibility is clearly useful, and has immediate benefits since it helps managers to clarify what jobs are completed and which are outstanding, and make sensible decisions regarding the allocation of workers to jobs. Operatives can be assigned to the jobs they are located nearest to or most qualified for. In turn, worker downtime is reduced, and short-term efficiency is improved.
However, the longer-term value of such solutions lies in their data analytics capabilities, which can enable organisations to develop genuinely actionable insights into operative performance, travel patterns and task outcomes.
For example, managers can request real-time snapshots of how individual workers are performing or the time taken for tasks to be completed, and then compare these against overall KPIs for individual or group performance. This enables a far closer analysis of business performance than manual methods, and enables interventions to take place far more precisely.
Travel patterns of remote and mobile workers can also be analysed, allowing trends and inefficiencies to be identified so that the organisation can take steps to reduce travel costs or ‘empty’ hours. And the outcomes of individual tasks, jobs or visits can be analysed too, enabling the developing of trends in no-access or non-completed tasks, or activity overruns.
Overall, mobile workforce management solutions enable organisations to drill down into granular detail on individual field workers, and individual field tasks – and, crucially, to analyse this detail over time. The trends and anomalies exposed through this analysis are the key to making genuinely strategic business decisions regarding anything from the recruitment and training of the field-based workforce, to the approach taken on individual field tasks. The possibilities for long-term efficiency gains are enormous.
3) Driving continuous improvement
Crucially, field workforce management solutions do not deliver these benefits in a ‘one-off’ structure. Rather, they enable businesses to instil a strategy of continuous improvement to the management of their field-based operations – and, in turn, be genuinely proactive and cutting-edge.
The wealth of data captured by these solutions allows business to adjust their workforce management practices precisely and repeatedly, so as to expose new and more efficient ways of working. This might, for example, mean changing shift patterns so that different numbers of field operatives are on duty at different times of the day or week, or introducing new training and development programmes to enhance skills in areas where tasks take longer to complete.
Historic data on field workforce performance can also be used to predict future trends, and even to actually model potential scenarios. Depending on the industry in question, field workforce management solutions might help an organisation to envisage the kinds of tasks or jobs that are most likely to take place at different times of year, and allocate resource accordingly. Or they might allow work programmes or tendered contracts to be imported into the software, and for the business to understand how many staff members will be required to undertake the proposed work.
Digital workforce management solutions help organisations to maximise the value of two of their most important assets. An efficient workforce and efficient use of data are crucial pieces of the puzzle when it comes to running a competitive, innovative and truly intelligent business.