By Brendan Blowers, Marketing Director, PTG Inc.
In the last year, many information workers have enjoyed a boost in their productivity — partly due to advancements in cloud technology. However, there is one group, firstline workers, who have been historically underserved when it comes to this type of tech. Hopefully, that is about to change.
A firstline worker is someone who serves as the first point of contact between a company and the outside world. They are the people in the field, on the manufacturing floor and behind a counter. Many companies who employ these workers could not continue to operate without them.
Because this workforce is so crucial, anything that can make them more productive and happier in their jobs can have a positive effect on a company’s bottom line.
“As Microsoft SMB partners, we have a unique opportunity to leverage technology that can increase the value of local small business owners who employ firstline workers,” says Reed Wilson, founder and CEO of Palmetto Technology Group.
Advancements in AI and automation help firstline workers get more done
Microsoft tools like Teams and Power Apps can be configured for a role-based experience to help firstline workers collaborate and complete tasks faster. This mobile-first approach can also be organized and controlled to support management’s goals as well.
When employees have better tools to engage, customer service is improved.
Tasks that used to require multiple form factors — like a tablet, phone and laptop — can now be handled within Microsoft Teams.
For example, a delivery driver who needs to alert his supervisor about a damaged package would be able to take a picture of the item, circle the area in question, alert their boss in real time and receive instructions about what to do—all through Teams on a single mobile device or tablet.
The goal of this technology is to streamline the user experience and standardize communication between workers. “We can build experiences across devices to connect organizations from the shop floor to the top floor,” says Jared Spataro, corporate vice president of Microsoft 365.
Securing company and customer data is a priority
One of the advantages Teams has over other worker productivity apps is that it is built on Microsoft 365. This gives small businesses the ability to offer enterprise-level security to every worker — even employees working remotely on a mobile phone or tablet. The friction of the technology experience is reduced by using Teams where private channels can even be created to enable workers to chat securely about confidential topics. An integrated smart camera allows workers to capture pictures and store them in a secure cloud — not locally on a device that can be lost or stolen. There is also a built-in app that makes it easy for workers to praise coworkers in one click — raising the morale of the entire team.
Empowering firstline workers in the Upstate
Palmetto Technology Group of Greenville, South Carolina, in partnership with Microsoft, will be the first tech company to deploy these new digital tools to this area. The Upstate has become a booming area for the employment of firstline labor in the manufacturing, health care and service industries.
With this new low-cost mobile technology at their disposal, Upstate businesses stand to save as much as 166 hours per worker while enjoying an 8% decrease in turnover rate, according to an SMB Firstline Total Economic Impact Study conducted by Forrester on behalf of Microsoft.
Businesses interested in participating in the Upstate’s Firstline Worker Pilot Program can visit info.goptg.com/firstline to learn more.