One of the sadder facts about life in Corporate America is that we've become pretty sloppy when it comes to managing people. During the good times, there wasn't much call for focusing on workforce optimization. Now that we're living in more challenging economic times, the need to get the most amount of productivity out of every employee has become a high priority.
And yet, the amount of IT effort being put into optimizing the workforce is almost negligible. Whether it's optimizing the time high-priced engineers spend working on a given project or simply making it easier for service people to get to the right place in the most efficient way possible, the entire process is left more to chance than science.
That's why as the economic slump progresses, IT leaders should take the opportunity to invest in workforce optimization applications from companies such as ClickSoftware in partnership with SAP, Oracle, Portage Communications, Kronos and a variety of other companies that have all developed applications designed to optimize the time people spend working.
Nobody likes to have their time wasted, even when they are being paid by the hour. Companies that waste their employees' time usually wind up losing the respect of their workers, which in turn leads to a downward cycle of inefficiency as morale drops. In addition, no schedule is ever perfect. So when somebody gets sick or a job takes too long, compensating for those unplanned events should not be left solely up to the intuition of the dispatcher.
Workforce optimization done right is one place where IT can make a real difference to the bottom line. The challenge is taking the time to find out how people are actually spending their day versus how they should be working if things were actually running the way they should be. And if that happens, a whole lot fewer people would be standing around questioning the value of IT.