The key to your company’s digital transformation isn’t to be found in the C suite or the millions you may be spending on new IT infrastructure. Instead, many experts say, its success depends on the participation of "firstline" workers, the people who produce your products, deliver services, interact directly with customers and present the public face of your company.
That’s the conclusion of the Forbes article, “Going Digital? Your Firstline Workers Will Pave Your Way To Success.” The article says that in digital transformation projects, “It’s especially important to involve firstline workers, who are directly charged with producing or bringing products and services to your customers, as well as translating strategies into tactics, and tactics into daily actions. Members of this workforce may include cashiers, customer service representatives, healthcare providers and construction teams. Simply put, they form the backbone of every major industry.”
A Forbes Insight study found “43% of executives in organizations with high levels of digitally empowered firstline workers report excellent progress in their digital transformation efforts, versus 21% of executives with few digitally empowered workers.”
“43% of executives in organizations with high levels of digitally empowered firstline workers report excellent progress in their digital transformation efforts, versus 21% of executives with few digitally empowered workers.”
That conclusion is mirrored by a McKinsey & Company report, “The people power of transformations,” which found “What really sets the more successful transformations apart…is the involvement of frontline employees and their managers.” But most companies ignore frontline workers — McKinsey says they are overall the “least engaged in transformations.” The report adds, “At successful companies, though, respondents are much likelier to report visibly engaged frontline employees: 73 percent do, compared with 46 percent of all other respondents.”
How can you engage firstline workers in digital transformation? There’s a simple answer: Mobile technology and apps built in collaboration with firstline workers and business managers. The Forbes article points to examples, such as providing sales associates “access to detailed customer profile data and inventory levels on mobile devices, enabling them to meet customer demands and provide alternatives in real time when products are unavailable.” It also cites giving field service workers mobile apps so they can so sole problems more easily and tap remote expertise.
The SearchMobileComputing article, “Mobile apps for field service adapt to meet deskless needs” provides plenty of other examples, including a construction field reporting management app that Ehrhart Griffin and Associates, a civil engineering and construction management firm in Omaha used to replace paper. The article says, “The app enables workers to file a report in only a few minutes, with pictures showing their work and any problems.”
We recently cited several examples of firstline worker apps produced by Alpha Software customers, including an app for energy efficiency inspectors and a service dispatch app for furniture warranty field workers.
How to Involve Firstline Workers in Digital Transformation
At Alpha Software, we work everyday to digitally transform our customers' business processes. By applying the right application development product to the problem, companies can quickly involve firstline workers in the development process.
Alpha TransForm allows first-line workers or citizen developers to quickly and easily build a mobile app or digitize a paper process. They can test the app in the field, gain end-user user feedback, and speed delivery of a mobile app that works well in the field and delivers true digital transformation.