Mobilizing your workforce

This will be the future

[Author: Nataraj Ganapathy (Ganpy), Principal at Cogent IBS Inc. & an SAP HCM Expert with over 17 years of industry experience]

If you are from the HR industry, I am sure you must have come across this phrase quite often. Specially, in the past couple of years. The era of smart phones and tablets have certainly brought a new dimension to our professional lives giving most of us a sense of blurring division between our work and personal lives.

But it’s not all bad. In fact, that blurring division is what I think could make our personal lives function more effectively, if we know how to balance our priorities. Some of the old schoolers may not agree with me. To me, whether you like the idea of this blurring division or not, it is here to stay and it is probably going to get more and more blurry in the coming years.

Mobility and HCM

Making some of the common HR functions available on mobile devices is not a revolutionary idea. It is merely an extension of what the market demands specifically in the HR domain. SAP itself has jumped on the bandwagon and has come out with a few apps of their own.
And there are a few other companies out there in the market today that develop mobile apps for SAP HR core business processes so that an organization’s workforce that are on the move have access to them wherever they are. In essence, anywhere, anytime access to basic HR functions.

There is enough proof out there already that confirms our belief, that empowering your workforce with such applications will increase productivity both in the short run and in the long run.

Here are some examples of HR functions where mobile applications when available could increase the productivity of your organization’s mobile workforce.

  • Employee Lookup Or Corporate Directory – Ability to pull employee contact details and some other basic information including reporting structure.
  • Leave Requests – Letting employees enter their leave requests and follow-up based on manager approvals/rejections
  • Time sheets – Weekly/Daily time entry
  • Travel Requests – Letting employees enter their travel requests and follow-up based on manager approvals/rejections
  • Approvals – Time sheet approvals, leave request/travel request approvals
  • Travel Expenses – Ability to enter travel expenses including automatic receipt imports/capture and be able to submit them for approval

The above are just a few commonly used HR functions by most of a company’s workforce.
If some or all of the above functions are available on mobile devices with a well thought out design and flow, imagine the kind of flexibility that your mobile workforce will derive from this.

This brings us back to the question of blurring division between work and personal lives, as with the advent of such mobile apps on your smart phones & tablets, some may feel that work is going to tend to expand to fill your living rooms and bed rooms, as you now are able to execute functions & transactions that you once were able to do only when you are at your desk in the office.

As a result, In my opinion, what will really blur in future is not so much the division between your work and personal lives, but really the very concept of ‘your office’ or ‘your desk’.

Good or Bad, this not going to be a choice for the future. This will be the future.

Embrace it and get ready to mobilize your workforce.



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