In this post we explore why a flexible approach can give lone worker organisations exactly the solution they want.
Adapting Your Lone Worker Processes
“You can have any colour, as long as it’s black.” So goes the paraphrase of the pioneering carmaker Henry Food towards the beginning of the twentieth century. Ford was one of the leading advocates of assembly line, mass production motor vehicles, and back then he could afford to specify just one colour for something that was revolutionary and within the financial means of many more Americans than before.
Turn the clock forward a hundred years or so, and you see a similar approach in software engineering. The assumption was that customers didn’t have good business processes; they were inefficient, manual, clumsy. Software companies designed software to automate so-called ‘best practices’ and sold the idea of the organisation adapting its processes to embrace the new technology and the best ways of working, and in so doing improve its productivity. Often this software is in fact a single version platform that everyone has to use. After all, the software company reasons, if you’ve two versions of the software, you’ve got twice the development, maintenance, support and so on.
Change is Hard
This is, of course, a huge undertaking for the customer organisation, involving a lot of planning and execution and, most critically, changing the engrained behaviours of staff to new behaviours, repeating them until they become the new accepted way of doing things. It’s hardly surprising that these transformation or change management projects fail 70% of the time, according to management consultants like McKinsey, for various reasons including weak management sponsorship and strong employee resistance. ‘Transformation’ and ‘change’ are things that organisations talk about a lot, employees avoid, and are so much harder to implement successfully than first thought.
Furthermore, the lone worker and health and safety industries can be thought of as fairly conservative and traditional in their mindset and approaches. They’re often not on the bleeding edge of technological advances and their safety procedures and processes can be heavily manual. In many cases they can’t change their business processes or don’t want to change them. And why should they, if they’re working particularly well?
The Unique Organisation
All organisations feel like they’re unique, with a particular set of circumstances and ways of working. Their lone workers have a wide and complex array of requirements and conditions depending on their job functions. A health and safety manager may need to provide for a very broad range of individual requirements. To offer this kind of customer one or two devices, and one or two ways of monitoring, alerting and communicating, is not going to work. As a customer it must feel like being a square peg facing a sea of ‘round hole’ suppliers.
What organisations with lone workers need is a custom solution, one that fits their unique set of requirements. A company that has taken the time to intimately understand how the organisation works, how its different lone workers work, and what it’s trying to do. A solution that can adapt to and bend itself around their current processes and ways of working. This has far much more chance of success, because you're asking the organisation to do less to change the ways it’s working. You're also improving the chances of the organisation benefitting from the early improvements and gaining the momentum to cement the new behaviours.
Adapting To Your Lone Worker Processes
In reality this means designing a flexible platform that can operate according to a set of rules specific to each customer, and that can connect to the broadest possible range of lone worker devices. It also means designing a platform that can be connected to other telecoms infrastructures and technologies as priorities and opportunities arise.
As our own John Murphy, Co-Founder and the Chief Technology Officer of Isle Systems, says, “We make our management platform and our communications engine flexible enough to work with their processes, not force companies to change their processes to accommodate the new technology. That’s like forcing everyone to use US A4 paper when Europe is on European A4. It’s our job to accommodate the huge variety in lone worker processes.”
It’s sometimes all too easy to forget that the word ‘customer’ comes from the word ‘custom’, which can refer to culture and tradition, but in this context means something designed for a specific company, customised to their requirements.
You can catch our partner ANT Telecom, who espouse the same philosophy as us with their telecoms and lone worker solutions, at the Lone Worker Safety Expo in London on 2nd October 2018. Use the code ANT20 to get 20% of the delegate fee when you register.
Alternatively, contact us to have a conversation about your custom requirements and the custom solution you need from us