Does mobile-enabling the office provide benefits? ServiceNow is counting on it with its newest offerings

We have all heard plenty about mobile enabling the workforce to allow remote work and work from home opportunities, but what about mobile enabling the physical workspace and the work processes that are part of it?

It seems employees are beginning to expect this from their employers, as a recent study from ServiceNow, Inc. shows that 54 per cent of workers expect their employers to provide productivity tools in a mobile format.

ServiceNow is trying to fulfill that need with its latest Now Platform release, New York, which brings with it two new mobile-native applications: the Now Mobile app and the ServiceNow Mobile Onboarding App.

While not every workplace process may lend itself to a mobile-centric version, Blake McConnell, the senior vice-president of employee workflow products for ServiceNow, said that they’re working towards figuring out which processes could stand to benefit from a mobile-native app.

As they looked deeper, McConnell said that they found two key indicators for which processes lends itself to mobile.

“What are things that an average employee does every day and how do we make those super intuitive through a mobile interface?” asked McConnell in a phone interview with IT World Canda. “If you think about looking for a conference room…  how do I find what’s the nearest conference room that’s available that can fit four people that has audio and video? That is something that is super common that you can enable through a mobile device.”

The second indicator was anything that could benefit from a camera, voice command, and GPS.

“The other thing that we think about with native mobile is how to take advantage of the capabilities that are native to the device. Use cases that require GPS, use cases that can be voice-enabled, use cases that can be associated with a camera,” explained McConnell. “So when you think about camera, about anything break-fix, you can think about how to capture that with a camera.”

He went on to explain that by being able to capture a photo of your problem, you can then be routed to the correct department depending on the situation. For example, if you send in a photo of a broken laptop, you can be redirected to the break-fix department, or if it is an issue with your power source at your desk, you can be redirected to the facilities department.

ServiceNow has decided to focus its newest offerings on onboarding (ServiceNow Mobile Onboarding App) and some of the more basic workplace inquiries like basic IT services and basic facilities and maintenance inquiries (Now Mobile app).

Onboarding, which McConnell said are usually done through phone calls or online portals, lend themselves best to being mobile-enabled.

Beyond what most would think of when it comes to onboarding – like payroll set up and tax forms – there are many less obvious needs to be filled that McConnell suggested often get overlooked. An app would help a new employee be ready to be productive on day one.

“I do think historically people think of onboarding simply from a tax form perspective, from a business perspective, and from the payroll perspective. Those are all super important but that does not enable the new employee to be productive on day one,” he said. “The things that are required to be productive on day one… I have a machine. It’s provisioned. I have the right security credentials. I have a workplace. I have a phone. And that is kind of the rest of the onboarding process that in companies historically has kind of stumbled at.”

By bringing all of these tasks onto a central location within an app, McConnell said that the onboarding process can not only become less time-consuming but also can become easier and more productive.

Some of those same types of tasks like requesting work devices or finding a suitable place to conduct certain tasks are also tasks that do not end after onboarding. McConnell said by pulling them into an app like Now Mobile, the departments responsible for fulfilling those needs can be freed up for the more complicated tasks.

With all that being said, a vital aspect to be considered when looking to move processes onto mobile is that the quality of the workplace experience and the quality of the work does not suffer, he added.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Buckley Smith
Buckley Smith
Staff writer for IT World Canada. Covering the world of technology as it applies to business. Buckley is an avid sports fan who loves travel, food, and music. Can be contacted at [email protected] or 416-290-2000.

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