Technology Record - Issue 31: Winter 2023

150 INTERVIEW User-centric applications for the frontline Kyndryl’s Ryan Treacy and Microsoft’s Noel Pennington discuss the role technology plays in improving employee experience According to a Work Trend Index special report from Microsoft, 80 per cent of the world’s workforce is made up of frontline workers. These people work directly with customers and are the public face of the organisations they represent. Technology-based tools can help reduce the burden for frontline workers and Kyndryl and Microsoft are collaborating to help organisations deploy solutions that enable their employees to be more productive and collaborative. Ryan Treacy, global digital workplace solutions leader for Microsoft 365 and Power Platform at Kyndryl, believes that the right tools can have a long-term effect, stating that “the frontline worker experience is impacted by the technology that they use, which in turn impacts the larger team and the perception of the organisation.” In short, frontline workers who are being supported in their role are more likely to then go above and beyond for their customers, leaving a positive impact that results in brand loyalty. However, the investment required to properly equip frontline workers with these tools is sometimes met with hesitancy. “There’s a maximum that organisations want to spend for the sake of saving money and I think that that can lead to missed opportunities,” says Noel Pennington, director of partner strategy for Microsoft Cloud for Retail at Microsoft. “If there are tools and technologies available that allow your workforce to function better, that will always be a good investment.” It is also important for organisations to focus on exactly what is required by the frontline workforce and ensure they are getting the most out of their money. “Licensing is key because ultimately, that’s where the costs pile up,” explains Treacy. “If an organisation is spending $40 a month on a license but is only utilising 20 per cent of it, then it is not as good a use of resources compared to using 90, or even 100, per cent. “Frontline workers will typically only use Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Power Apps, SharePoint and OneDrive. If we can pull back organisations using enterprise licences and push them back into frontline worker licences, then the money that the business recoups can be then spent on other endeavours that improve the frontline worker experience.” For example, Power Apps help organisations to build applications that can be used by their frontline workers for a variety of purposes. “If a stock checker is visiting different stores, an app can check them in through geolocation tagging and the employee can then update BY AMBER HICKMAN “ If your app has been designed correctly, you shouldn‘t need to provide any additional training” RYAN TREACY, KYNDRYL