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First Digital enables frontline workers through digital solutions

First Technology Digital, a future-enabled partner for digital transformation, digital workplaces and machine learning, has placed a serious focus on empowering the local frontline worker, aligning to Microsoft’s approach of improving productivity and engagement by connecting employees with the tools needed to do their best work.



According to the global technology company, frontline workers make up a huge segment of the general workforce, across every industry, and are the backbone of many organisations.


Worldwide, this encompasses over two billion retail associates, factory-line workers, customer service representatives, first responders and healthcare practitioners, as well as housekeeping staff, call centre teams, support technicians, field service workers, and more.

Because frontline workers have often been left behind when it comes to digital transformation, says Microsoft, they may not have seamless access to the necessary productivity tools and data.


In fact, explains Gabriel Malherbe, management executive at First Digital, these employees frequently turn to the use of manual systems and unknown consumer technology in order to complete their work, and these unrecognised, unauthorised apps and devices – also known as ‘shadow IT’ – can pose a serious security risk to a company.


“Microsoft estimates, according to internal data from November 2019, that there is an average of 181 or more Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) apps in use at every organisation. It’s not surprising then, when it comes to frontline technology, that a major priority for 74 percent of IT leaders is ensuring the security of company and customer data. This is followed by two other key factors: providing relevant technology tools (66 percent) and boosting productivity (59 percent).”


By leveraging Microsoft 365 for frontline workers, businesses can provide these critical staff members with simple, intuitive and secure solutions, including the relevant productivity apps, an integrated hub for communication and collaboration, the ability to engage across a mobile intranet and enterprise social networking, access to files, and more.


“This provides companies with a cost-effective option, empowering those critical employees that may not be allocated a physical desk and computer, but who are often the first point of contact for clients,” Malherbe continues.


First Digital has extended the reach of Microsoft’s FLW offering locally, building two new solutions aimed at the South African marketplace. Its Staff Scheduling solution has been effectively implemented by a southern African branded footwear, clothing and accessories retailer, allowing shop floor staff to access schedules and improve planning.


A custom workwear manufacturer and supplier, on the other hand has extended its people-focused company ethos to include a People Finder app. This enables employees to search for the profiles of particular staff members, providing not only information around their designation and role within the business, but also relevant personal details.


“In recognition of the hard work and focus First Digital has put into developing solutions specifically aimed at frontline workers, we are amongst the very first globally to be invited to join Microsoft’s exclusive Frontline Worker (FLW) Jumpstart Program,” says Malherbe.


“Microsoft’s intention behind this new programme is to empower partners to build digital solutions that align to frontline worker scenarios, encouraging productivity, culture, communication, workflow, training and upskilling, security and compliance, as well as identity access and management.


“Our invitation to be one of the first companies worldwide to join the programme is a serious accomplishment for First Digital, and attests to what we have already achieved within this space,” he adds.

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