Report shows that while field services lead the other groups, they could do even better with more holistic strategies.
Research Shows Field Services and Home Healthcare Would Benefit from More Holistic Enterprise Mobility Strategies
Field services and home healthcare depend on getting workers and caregivers to multiple locations and having them perform tasks efficiently and well when they get there. That's why they were early adopters of mobile devices like tablets and smartphones and typically lead other industries in the use of enterprise mobility solutions.
The pandemic brought significant disruption to field services and home healthcare. When nursing homes saw high levels of COVID infections, the demand for in-home healthcare spiked. The sudden shift to remote work meant higher demand in the telecommunications industry for at-home connectivity. Because they're frontline workers, employees in the healthcare, telecom, and utility fields couldn't work from home. All field service and home healthcare organizations had to navigate potential exposure risks, getting personal protection supplies, quarantines, and staffing issues. Mobile devices played a key role in getting through the disruption. They're critical for highly efficient and productive operations.
Now, mobile device use in field services is increasing for many reasons. With the arrival of 5G, there are new cases like augmented reality for technicians making repairs. Use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is expanding exponentially both in home and commercial settings, and mobile devices are key for configuration, testing, and troubleshooting. Home healthcare continues to grow rapidly, and caregivers need smartphones and tablets paired with diagnostic tools to deliver the best patient outcomes. Evolving technology like wearables is creating even more new use cases.
"Home healthcare market size expected to surpass $662 billion by 2027"
As a leader in enterprise mobility, Stratix does research every year to learn what's working and what isn't for organizations. In the 2022 Enterprise Mobility Outlook, we studied field services and home healthcare as key industry verticals, along with retail, transportation, manufacturing, and supply chain. The data shows that while field services and home healthcare lead the other groups, they could do even better with more holistic strategies.
Enterprise mobility is essential in field services and home healthcare for communications, efficient "anywhere" operations, increasing automation, and improving workflows. Good solutions are key to user/customer/patient experiences. To get more of those benefits, organizations are embracing mobile-first principles that put mobile at the heart of strategic planning. Being mobile-first isn't just deploying mobile solutions piecemeal. It's a comprehensive philosophy that evaluates everything in the context of how mobility might bring improvement and nimbleness.
One of the 2022 Enterprise Mobility Outlook highlights is our new Mobile-First Score, which reveals how organizations see themselves vs. reality. We found that while field service and home healthcare organizations typically lead our groups in the adoption of mobile-first principles, they're not completely there.
First, we asked respondents to rate their own organizations. Sixty-four percent of field service and home healthcare companies see themselves as mobile-first, with an additional 30 percent believing they're "somewhat" mobile-first and only six percent saying they're not mobile-first. (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Field Services and Home Healthcare Mobile-First Self-Assessment
Next, we had respondents answer a battery of questions designed to reveal their organization's true nature. We looked at indicators like how central mobile is to decision-making, if they have a comprehensive understanding of their mobile environment, and if they're engaged in proactive digital transformation. We found field service and home healthcare organizations aren't doing quite as well as they think. Less than half of organizations score "high." (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Field Services and Home Healthcare Mobile-First Scores
Still, field services and home healthcare are far and away the leaders on our mobile-first scale compared with manufacturing, retail, and transportation (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Self-perception by Industry
So why do the majority of field services and home healthcare organizations still come in at "medium" or "low?"
However, there are some things that field services and home healthcare organizations are doing better:
So, overall, what are field services and home healthcare organizations missing that's causing that gap between self-perception and actual mobile-first scores? It can be explained—in part—by their lack of understanding of what it really is to be mobile-first. Many assume they are if they use mobile devices in some workflows, but they're missing the bigger picture and benefits of a holistic strategy.
Being truly mobile-first not only offers opportunities for scale, cost savings, and efficiency, it makes organizations more agile and able to adopt new technology faster. That's important when reacting to disruption or trying to be a disruptor yourself.
The 2022 Enterprise Mobility Outlook also looks at device policies and how they're used within field services and home healthcare organizations. Additionally, we wanted to understand how devices are supported, what special needs organizations have, and if there are any pain points.
Sixty-four percent of field services and home healthcare organizations rely on corporate-owned devices—whether they're business-only devices that are individually assigned, shared, personally enabled, or choose-your-own-device. Of those, only nine percent are shared—which makes sense considering field services workers and caregivers rarely operate in environments where they're close to coworkers and could share.
Field services and home healthcare organizations rely a lot more than any of our groups on so-called Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies. Thirty-six percent have them. That number climbs to 54 percent in the healthcare subgroup. It's a surprising statistic given the obvious security concerns.
What is Mobile-First?
First used to describe website design, "mobile first" has evolved into a wide-ranging strategy for organizations looking to utilize anywhere operations, accelerate automation, improve work quality, and even boost worker safety.
In this episode, Alex Kalish, Stratix Chief Strategy and Solutions Officer, talks explains what mobile first means and its transformative value for organizations—including significant efficiency and productivity advantages.
Listen to Podcast
Of our four groups, field services and home healthcare organizations are among the most likely to have relationships with Managed Mobile Services Providers (MMSPs). Fifty-five percent outsource entirely, while 37 percent rely on MMSPs for deployments and/or telecom expense management.
A full 73 percent of organizations use MMSPs to repair and/or maintain spare pools for their corporate-owned, business-only devices.
When it comes to picking an MMSP, field services and home healthcare organizations prefer one hand to shake. Eighty-four percent say they find providers with "complete" solutions either "very" valuable or "extremely" valuable. The services they get include:
Of all our groups, field services and home healthcare are the least likely to rely on off-the-shelf enterprise mobility solutions. Sixty-nine percent say they need very" or "extremely" customized devices. That number shoots up to 80 percent for telecommunications companies.
Because of that need for customization, field services and home healthcare organizations are slightly more likely to pick Android over iOS devices (34 percent vs. 28 percent), but they also rely on a large amount of legacy equipment that's still running Windows Embedded—particularly healthcare and utility companies. That shows how they're overdue for upgrades in some areas. It's an opportunity for mobile-first strategies that consider how to move legacy workflows onto multi-use devices.
Like all the other industries in our survey, field services and home healthcare organizations find it hard to hire qualified staff to manage mobile solutions. Seventy-six percent report at least some level of difficulty. The research also shows that internal IT teams spend a huge amount of time managing mobile (see Figure 4).
More than 80 percent spend more than a quarter of their day on mobile and 57 percent more than half. While that's not surprising considering how much field services organizations rely on enterprise mobility, it's still time that internal resources are not spending on more strategic initiatives.
While field services and home healthcare organizations are leading other industries in the use of enterprise mobility solutions, not enough are truly mobile-first. The lack of centralized decision-making means there are not sufficient holistic strategies. That results in missed opportunities for scale or using the same technology across multiple workflows or different user groups. Consolidating mobile solutions lowers costs—for both procurement and ongoing support.
Figure 4: Time Spent Managing Mobile Technology in Field Services and Home Healthcare
The research also shows healthcare and utility companies often rely on older technology, which leads to lost productivity and increased security risks. Both industries are frequent targets for hackers. Multi-use devices that leverage defense-grade security solutions such as Samsung Knox could fit well into mobile-first strategies.
Holistic strategies also give you better data. Because success in field services depends so much on maximum efficiency around getting resources where they need to go and speedy task completion when they arrive, actionable information around routing and productivity is key.
Despite broad experience with enterprise mobility technology, field services and home healthcare organizations may need help conceptualizing and implementing true mobile-first strategies. Consulting with experts is an option. Partnering with an MMSP gives you access to advisors who can study your organization and show you the way.
Wherever your organization is in its mobile-first journey, you don't have to go it alone. Stratix has led from the front on mobility for nearly four decades. We can help you design and deliver end-to-end mobile technology solutions that make your organization's mobility convenient, easy, and cost-effective. We execute deployments at scale and with precision, so they work in the hands of your end users out-of-the-box. Once devices are in service, we provide ongoing world-class managed services and visibility tools that ensure nonstop mobility throughout their lifecycle. For additional information, visit www.stratixcorp.com
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Want to see more of our research? Read the full 2022 Enterprise Mobility Outlook.