The more people work away from the office the
greater the duty of care on the organisation
to ensure they are properly trained, managed
and monitored. Any mobile solution should
enforce this duty of care by making available the
necessary policies, procedures and alerts to each
individual, dependant on the type of work they
undertake. The solution should also support the
lone worker protection policies of the authority.
Finally there s the impact of changing business processes. This can have even greater impact
in the back office than in the field. This is generally because mobile solutions are designed to
support the field worker and streamline their working practises. As a result the back office and
supervisor functions often fundamentally change. Much of the manual intervention is removed
and supervisors have more time to advise and support as they spend less time chasing updates
and collating information.
South Somerset were so convinced of the potential for change in the back office that they took
the decision to streamline the front line service and roll out across all the operatives before
even assessing the impact in back office savings. By doing this they speeded up implementation
and were able to re-design their back office processes in one pass.
Maintaining a team balance
Many organisations see mobile technology as a key enabler of workers spending less time at
a central, internal location and more time with or around end-users or customers. In many
ways it is easier to build and maintain relationships with colleagues you see every day in the
office, and you will need to work harder at relationships with employees you do not see. This
presents significant behavioural and cultural challenges as many workers look towards the
work environment as a key source of social contact and interaction. Authorities will need to
fnd alternative ways of reinforcing the team s culture, and motivating people to stay part of it.
This may mean setting up regular social events and electronic ways of exchanging news, views
and opinions about each other s work. This will be especially important for new recruits.
With mobile working it is easy to assume that the training needs revolve solely around the new
technology to be used. However, other considerations are required.
Management should talk to employees individually to ascertain their existing skills in a skills
audit, and then compare these with the skills they will need. The gap identified forms the
training need, and is likely to be different for each person.
Had we changed front line and back offce processes together
I m convinced that this would have resulted in additional
risk and effort. Based on what we learned from the front line
implementation, we would undoubtedly have had to do all the
back office work over again
Rob Barker, Finance Manager - South Somerset Works.
Copyright c Consilium Technologies
White Paper V1.0 September 2007