Workforce Management Feature Article
December 10, 2012
Collaboration Technologies are Top Priority for Workforce Managers
By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor
New technology brings much promise for workforce management, whether the cloud, mobility, collaboration technologies or Facebook (News - Alert). But, companies are only interested in new workforce technology as much as it improves productivity, consistent results and collects scattered information. Those are some of the findings of Ventana Research, which recently conducted a study about next-generation workforce management.
“Organizations are pretty pragmatic when it comes to workforce management,” noted Mark A. Smith, CEO and chief research officer for Ventana, in a post for the Information Management blog.
Roughly 63 percent of those surveyed were focused on how technology can improve productivity, according to Smith, with improving inconsistent execution and collecting scattered information also cited by nearly half of those surveyed.
“Clearly the opportunity to improve is significant, but many organizations still use personal productivity tools such as spreadsheets,” he noted.
To that end, companies are exploring technologies such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and Facebook as ways to boost those key metrics. Most important are collaboration tools and analytics, the study found.
“Having ways for workers, managers and management to collaborate can drive businesses toward a more open and productive workplace,” noted Smith, which is why 70 percent of those surveyed cited collaboration tools as a top priority. Analytics followed closely behind at 68 percent.
When companies mean collaboration, though, apparently they mean Twitter (News - Alert) and Facebook status updates. The top priorities according to those surveyed are online forums (30 percent), Twitter (29 percent), and activity streams such as Facebook (27 percent).
“We also found collaboration has been the most engaging when workers use mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets,” explained Smith.
Tablets have the most potential for expanding into existing and new deployments, according to 34 percent of organizations. Smartphones, while already used in two-thirds of organizations, are nonetheless also expected to remain a priority when it comes to workforce management.
“The demand for more easily defining and assigning tasks has led to a new generation of applications that let managers routinely work with their workers more directly,” wrote Smith, communicating the intersection of collaboration, social media and mobility in the next generation of workforce management.
It also came as no surprise that the technology employed must be easy to use. Usability was an important technology consideration among 81 percent of those surveyed, according to Smith. But acquiring the technology still takes making a strong business case to justify the budgetary expense for 63 percent of those surveyed, perhaps revealing why productivity gain is the first and last word for workforce management professionals surveyed.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli