Considering that app technology has only been around for just over a decade, it is surprising that the requirements of a fast-moving and dynamic contractor workforce have not been catered for by a genuine end-to-end application. The very nature of a contingent labour force constantly transitioning from one assignment to another whilst working at multiple sites indicates that app technology firms would have prioritised this marketplace from a commercial perspective if nothing else.
However, perhaps due to the complexity of the functionality required in terms of self-serve onboarding, location tracking, creating and submitting timesheets, connecting with a multi-level supply chain and managing the flow of payments and deductions, it is little wonder that no one app has been developed to enable all of these tasks.
Equally surprising, is that payroll intermediaries or software providers have not developed an app that satisfactorily performs even some of these tasks given that they (ultimately) depend on the contractors for their income. Until now. Solutio identified this gaping gap in the temporary worker supply chain from the outset and has been developing an app that enhances the contractor experience for the last two years. The latest version of the Solutio ‘first mobile’ worker app has now been released which includes an array of genuinely unique features unavailable on any other contractor payroll platform.
Understanding the significance of the term ‘mobile first’ is critical to appreciating the difference between a genuine app developed for phones and tablets, as opposed to a so-called ‘web app’ which is a glorified page on a website accessed via a URL link with all the restrictions inherent in this technology. The differences between the two technologies in terms of accessibility, compatibility, performance, security and development costs are seismic as clarified below:
As the term describes, ‘mobile first’ (or native) apps are specifically developed for phones and tablets as opposed to desktops or laptops and can be accessed from virtually anywhere. As with Solutio, fully compliant and technically approved apps can be downloaded from either the Apple App or Google Play stores. Most apps can also function without an internet connection whereas web apps have to be ‘online’ to operate even the most basic commands.
A major benefit of genuine apps is how they are compatible with a myriad of other applications which often perform essential functions central to their usefulness. GPS tracking, camera integration and synchronised calendars are vital tools for any contractor running their professional affairs on the move. Solutio’s app is fully compatible with all these functions which enable a worker to locate new workplaces with ease, track distances and mileage, photograph and upload receipts, whilst managing their diaries via integrated calendars. So-called ‘apps’ that do not have these features seem to me to be largely pointless and not worthy of the name.
Even without these features built-in, web-apps suffer in terms of actual performance as they are dependent upon reliable wi-fi connections which are clearly not available to contractors driving along with the M6 or crisscrossing London on the Tube. One recognises the benefit of downloading a payslip from a home-based desktop, but, in reality, these web-apps offer few other advantages.
By their very nature, mobile apps are more secure as they reside on individual devices as opposed to web-apps which live on the internet where they are more vulnerable to hacks, viruses and any number of cyber-attacks. Mobile app platforms are also updated via single releases only relevant to the platform itself rather than full upgrades of a vast operating system. Anyone who has frequently updated their Mac or Microsoft PC software will recognise the potential problems caused by these system upgrades.
And here’s the rub! The cost of developing a genuine ‘mobile first’ application is considerably more than hastily configuring a web page into a sanitised app version. The myriad of phone and tablet devices all have their own specifications and technical guidelines which have to be adhered to when designing and coding a native app. The permutations and complexities of ensuring an app works across both Apple & Microsoft platforms are incalculable and demand significant investment, great technical skill and more than a little patience. None of these characteristics is lost on the Solutio team who have inputted all three elements in spades to successfully launch the latest version of our worker app.
Taking all of these considerations into account, the latest release of Solutio’s mobile app is the most comprehensive product of its type on the market today. Workers are given the tools to interact with the Solutio and their supply chain contacts who are also using the platform. Once onboarded into the system, contractors can to perform the following tasks exclusively via the app:
No other app offers such a rich list of real-time functions to help contractors manage their professional assignments whilst on the move. The latest release has already received an exceptionally positive response from users who automatically benefit from the new features and functionality. Further updates and additions are planned throughout the rest of the year as we continue our journey to develop the ultimate end-to-end contractor mobile app.
Umbrella companies, recruitment agencies or professional employment organisations interested in empowering their contractors using the Solutio mobile app are invited to contact Sophie Law (Business Development Manager) to arrange an initial discussion or a full demo of the Solutio app and payroll platform. In the first instance, please either call 0203 819 7970 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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