What Happens When Technical Learning Goes Mobile?

By Shailesh Joshi

Fast-paced organizational growth and competitive environments demand employees to be more productive and better informed to serve customers. To achieve these objectives, the population of mobile workforce is steadily growing in all organizational departments. According to a Gartner and BusinessWire forecast, this number will cross 1.3 billion by end of 2015 and will continue to rise.

Learning leaders can empower this mobile workforce by using digital learning tools with just-in-time access, delivering the knowledge employees need to complete the job at hand, quickly and effectively.

An increase in the number of powerful mobile computing devices plays a key role in empowering employees in the field. Apple’s iPhone and iPad, Google’s Android OS and Windows Mobile and other platforms in conjunction with technologies like augmented reality, proximity sensors, collaborative workflows and analytics make a compelling proposition for effective performance support tools.

With high expectations from the sales workforce to add to the organization’s top line, the demand for a mobile productivity tool is higher than ever before. Many organizations in the United States have started enabling the sales workforce with productivity tools, in turn providing returns for all departments.

Leveraging the authentication details, sales executives log in to the tool using mobile devices or a PC and access product specific details. In many organizations, details such as product features, value proposition, price points, possibility of discounts, tentative order closure details are dynamic in nature. The ability to update these details on a daily basis makes it a useful tool in the field.

Another aspect of the tool that gives its information context is its ability to tag information with location and time of day. With this feature, the mobile device understands the location of the sales executive and facilitates relevant information proactively.

Despite of all these information bytes, sales executives do have queries on products, hence a rapidly growing use of query resolution modules in productivity tools. This started with a simple form — users post a query to an expert or a peer community and receive resolution in asynchronous mode. To get employees speedier access to information, apps integrate instant messages so sales executives can seek clarity from an expert in synchronous mode. These instant messengers enable sales executives to share pictures or video files through instant messengers for faster resolution.

Sales executives with years of experience in the field often understand certain processes much better than others. Such wealth of tacit knowledge can be turned into explicit knowledge using productivity tools, where the experts make videos, store them on a central knowledge management repository and share with peers for replication.

Because sales executives are in the field most of the time, sharing updates on organizational events can be challenging. Productivity tools have started integrating organizational alerts as a feature where new product launches, messages, policy announcements, etc., are shared using a remote backend utility for alerts announcement. The remote backend utility of the performance support tools allows the administrator to push the information for sales executives on their mobile and PC apps.

The backend utility also facilitates analytics on data collected from end user access points. These analytics help the organization to understand the sales executive’s knowledge on products and map them with sales closures data.

Most of the time, these conclusions lead to training programs for sales executives on products or reassignment of field roles. They are also used to reward performance or winners on the field. All these actions help sales organization perform better and improve the top line of the organization.

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