There's ample opportunity for IT to grow -- provided it gets out from behind a desk.
Microsoft recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a study on the potential impact of providing firstline workers with technology. These workers are the ones whose jobs Microsoft identifies as roles that make them the first point of contact between a company and its customers or products -- think of retail workers, bank tellers, flight attendants, restaurant waiters, field technicians. And according to the results from Forrester:
There's a sharp disconnect between firstline workers and their management. Less than half of the firstline workers surveyed agree that the tools they use do a good job of allowing them to be mobile, whereas 75 percent of managers feel the tools they provide do a good job of this.
Firstline workers want better communication tools. Nearly half (46 percent) of firstline workers surveyed indicated the ability to work collaboratively with teammates as the primary capability required to do their job. Approximately 57 percent of their working time went toward interacting directly with coworkers or customers.
Although machine intelligence and predictive technologies can help automate some data tasks and provide customer insights, firstline workers report not having sufficient access to these tools. Only 30 percent of firstline workers report having access to a predictive tool, and only 21 percent have access to a digital assistant.
As Forrester reported, "According to the business decision makers we surveyed, the only tools that are being given out to a majority of employees are email (62%) and training and development platforms (57%). Only 25% of managers say that they are currently automating routine activities for their firstline workers. Further, only 30% of firstline workers report having access to a predictive tool, and 21% have access to a digital assistant."
So where's the opportunity for IT? According to Forrester, it's here:
The ability to both create and access information was a consistent ask of the surveyed firstline workers. Many firstline workers want the ability to track their work throughout the day, and they often need access to information from various databases.
Many of these common requirements are served by non-industry- specific communication and collaboration tools that can be deployed on computers or mobile devices. Modern, cloud-connected tools can integrate these capabilities and often include complementary security and compliance capabilities — which are critical considerations for the leaders looking to invest in them.
To read the full report, visit this link.
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