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Beware the Free Workforce Automation App: You’ll Get What You Pay For

Phone version of a field service automation app that has an alert notification, indicating potential users to beware of "free" automation apps that compromise on performance.
3 min read

Phone version of a field service automation app that has an alert notification, indicating potential users to beware of "free" automation apps that compromise on performance.

The easiest way to start enhancing your business’ bottom line is to put the right mobile employee management tools into place. Businesses that implement the right tools can save and earn tens of thousands per employee per year in payroll and opex cost savings and productivity increases. However, navigating through the maze of solutions being offered today can be quite a challenge for both small and large businesses alike.

When choosing a solution, price isn’t everything. It’s good to keep a few key things in mind – your company’s goals and needs (including regulatory and contract compliance, auditing & liability issues, back-office needs, etc.), the system’s capabilities and available customer support. So in this blog, we’ve set out to review the capabilities of the “Free” location tracking or time-keeping App and why they fail to live up to the expectations of businesses that are trying to adopt a solution to increase earnings.

Generally, the free standalone location tracking apps that are available in the market, are designed to do only one thing – ‘track location’ of the phone that has installed the app. These apps are not designed with businesses in mind – though it’s often falsely claimed and sold as such. Here are some of the features that are important to businesses in a mobile workforce management software, which these free apps will fail to deliver:

Missing Features in a Free Mobile Workforce Management Software

1. Strong Privacy controls

This is one of the most important features of any location tracking system. We all know tracking location is a very sensitive issue and when you’re are considering it to implement such a system for your business to manage your mobile workforce, you need to make sure the system offers a strong privacy control. This is not only a part of best practices but will save you all the hassles and time, should you need to prove your compliance to any federal or govt. agencies. Most free or low-cost apps are not compliant with Federal, State and Industry standards and will fail you.

2. Service Automation & Intelligence

Being able to just view location of your employee when they use the app, or just location in general, will not do much help to your business’ bottom line without any service intelligence to make valuable use of that data for running reports for payroll and billing, and to provide you with alerts and actions based on the employee’s status.

Furthermore, this should be achieved with zero-touch from the end-user in the field, efficient battery usage, just-in-time notifications & easy health-of-the-system monitoring. Without this level of automation, the cost of managing any business software deployment on the powerful modern phones in the field is likely to lead to more trouble tickets and back-office overhead.

Business-class systems such as allGeo offer layers of service intelligence that can automate the whole process with customized rules tied around people, place & time, saving you money and improving your operations response capabilities to near real-time.

3. Reporting & Compliance

As a manager or business owner, you know the importance of reporting and compliance for a range of needs, from cutting payroll and OPEX costs to meeting contract requirements for Federal and State DOL, ACA, and other regulations. Any simple or cheap app can never give you the kind of audit trail a business class software can provide for these needs. Customized reports on top of this can help you with your industry-specific certification needs.

4. Future Feature Proof

The evolution of mobile phones is happening at a breathtaking pace. Over 60% of adults in the US own a smartphone (Pew Internet Research). Modern day phones consist of an array of sensors and inbuilt services. Examples include iBeacon, image sensors for easy QR Code scanning, in-build payment services, strong identity management, signature capture, powerful sensors to detect environmental changes, etc. On the web, there is a similar explosion of user-friendly, powerful business services such as cloud-hosted HR software, CRM, payroll services, scheduling services, Service personnel workflow management, etc. A mobile workforce management platform needs to effectively leverage these capabilities in the modern phone & the web in order to provide best-in-class, customizable solutions to its business clients.

5. Customer and Technical support

Free apps are typically unsupported apps, and if there’s a problem with them you have nowhere to go. So make sure your service has a range of customer and technical support options from self-help videos, wikis and live support. With some training for your back office staff and near-zero training for your field employees, you can be up and running in a matter of days.

There are many more attributes that are native only to a business class workforce management solution where a cheap or *free* app will fail to deliver. A service such as allGeo is designed with your business use in mind and has a well defined objective and purpose – to save time, money and effort for end users & companies.

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