Creating Value With Context-Aware Collaboration

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Context-aware services with collaboration tools

Integrating context-aware services with collaboration tools can improve the way companies share ideas, resolve issues and provide excellent customer service.

After you identify a pilot project, consider these four building blocks, and remember to involve field workers in identifying, defining and designing collaboration technologies throughout the process.

1. Understand the contexts and actions. Identify areas in the workflow in which having a technology recommending or performing an action to a field worker could benefit them. Next, identify the data that needs to be collected to make that happen, as well as relevant contexts such as location, historical records and current performance data. Consider any context that might improve the process, without limiting your thinking to more traditional inputs, and then look to source it creatively.

2. Assess existing workflows. Once you’ve identified a workflow that could benefit from context-aware collaboration tools, do an audit of the processes involved in it. The audit must be both bottom-up and top-down to be successful.

It is very important to treat field workers as knowledge workers because they have an intimate understanding of what happens on the job site. This lets them give you important insights about how a process works now and how it could be done better in the future.

3. Identify Metrics. You need a clear timeframe and a defined set of metrics, plus a robust method for measuring the pilot project results. It can be helpful to apply key performance indicators that the leadership team is already familiar and comfortable with, but change can be accompanied by challenges that can have a negative impact on KPIs. That’s why it’s important to identify other metrics so you can either detect problems early or demonstrate progress.

4. Scale smartly. Once one pilot has been conducted successfully, you can begin to scale one workflow at a time. Use internal communications tools to market your successes early and often to make sure that demand exists for the project from across the business. That should reduce employee perceptions that change is being foisted on them.

In a workforce management solution, whatever is being implemented should be aligned with existing processes. These include task assignments, street-level routing, up-sell opportunities and schedule optimization.

Context-based collaboration for workforce management requires a broader and more dynamic view of the possibilities for adding value to the business. Added value can include time savings and empowering field teams with relevant information that lets them to do their jobs more effectively. These services demand different skills and stronger links in the enterprise than many IT leaders have used so far.

By marrying social collaboration with context-aware workflows and treating every worker as a knowledge worker, organizations can find new ways to improve efficiencies and deliver high-quality service that wins customer loyalty and provides a strong foundation for growth.

Nisha Sharma is managing director at Accenture Mobility, part of Accenture Digital, and Masoud Loghmani is director of open innovation and strategy at Accenture Technology Labs.

This article was originally published on 2015-01-23
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