Mobile is a disruptive force that is here to stay. Some 42 percent of the world's population will own a smartphone by the end of 2015,1 including 13 percent-or approximately 1 billion people-using mobile phones only to access the Internet.2
These always-connected consumers and professionals simply assume businesses will cater to their mobile requirements. Their expectation is that they will get what they need, in their immediate context, and in real time. It makes no difference whether the interaction is B2C or B2B-the lines have blurred beyond recognition.
The implications of this seismic transformation is something PRO Unlimited recognized a few years ago when we embarked on a development effort to introduce an omnichannel experience for both managers and contingent workers using our Wand VMS (vendor management system) solution.
The "On-demand Workforce"
The contingent workforce, which has nearly doubled since 2009,3 has become a strategic business lever for many companies. Rather than getting locked into full-time employment relationships that lack agility and flexibility, companies are able to leverage contingent workers based on specific skill sets as well as increasingly deploy them for Statement-of-Work projects. Dubbed the "On-demand Workforce," these workers are in high demand due to the booming economy.
With millennials predicted to comprise more than 50 percent of the workforce by yearend (and 75 percent by 2020), workforce demographics are concurrently changing.4 Many of these workers seek temporary-or contingent-assignments rather than full-time positions. This gives them optimal work-life balances, while allowing them to focus on time-based projects that align with their career interests.
The "War on Talent"
The coalescence of these different factors is fueling a war on talent. Consequently, bill rates for certain skill sets are skyrocketing, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit and source these workers. Time is often the difference between reviewing, interviewing, and hiring a candidate or losing them to another buyer that was "faster to the draw." For example, an IT hiring manager who is traveling and boarding a plane can review a resume for a hard-to-find Hadoop architect and schedule an interview with her or him using Wand Mobile on their iPhone or Android device.
This was a central focus that we sought to solve with the design and development of Wand Mobile. We wanted to deliver a set of robust capabilities in our Wand VMS to managers and workers through a 100 percent native app-last year on iOS and just recently on Android. For managers who are on the go, they can use their iPhone, iPad, or Android devices to perform a wide range of different tasks and functions. In a matter of a few seconds, they simply need to swipe, tap, and click. For workers, they also have robust capabilities on their iPhone and Android devices such as the ability to fill out and submit time cards, photograph and tag receipts, submit expense reports, submit hours worked on a Statement-of-Work (SOW) project, among more.
Mobile Apps versus Mobile Websites
Businesses recognize this turn toward mobile. Thirty-five percent of enterprises report they have plans in 2015 to build and deploy mobile apps,5 with a 40 percent increase in IT spend for mobile apps projected.6
In addition to the above, the data shows the focus is on mobile apps. The exuberance from a few years ago around developing HTML5-based apps is wearing off as enterprises and developers realize these apps fail to leverage the features of the native device-whether iOS or Android. Specifically, while responsive design is a great to have on website, it is not something you want for a mobile app. The same is true of so-called hybrid apps that leverage a combination of HTML5 and native design, often with only an entry page based on native iOS or Android.
Either way, the result is a subpar user experience. And the votes are in, as the users have spoken: 89 percent indicate they prefer mobile apps to mobile websites.7
The Next Mobile Evolution
With Mobile now well entrenched, we're seeing a further disruption with the introduction of wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT). Because of the launch of the Apple Watch, buzz around wearables and their potential to launch a new wave of transformation is prevalent. This year, industry analysts predict over 30 million U.S. adults-or 14 percent of the population-to purchase an Apple Watch.8
Wearables are fast becoming much more than devices used to monitor health and fitness and a pure business-to-consumer (B2C) play to something with substantial business-to-business (B2B) possibilities. Enterprises concur. IDC reports that 46 percent plan to support wearables by yearend.9
The intersection of IoT technologies such as proximity technology on wearables presents additional opportunities such as replacement of corporate badges and automation of time cards. Further, rather than receiving notifications on their smartphones, managers and workers would receive those on their wearables.
While it is still too early to make definitive predictions on the future of wearables, the possibilities are promising. Time will only tell.
The Future Is Bright
Contingent workforce management on mobile devices is here to stay, as corroborated by the ongoing adoption of Wand Mobile by managers and workers alike. Most weeks, we see hundreds of new users download and start using the mobile app-and the reviews they submit on reflect their satisfaction levels (4.5+ on iTunes).
It is an exciting time to be in the contingent workforce management space, and mobile makes it even more interesting. For those who would like to see Wand Mobile in action, schedule a demo with our team today.