From The Editor | March 26, 2013

3 Keys To A Successful Mobile Deployment

Sarah Howland

By Sarah Howland, Editor In Chief, Field Technologies magazine

Evaluating, selecting, and deploying a mobile solution are very challenging for many companies. In today’s technology-driven world, the options are virtually endless (which translates to overwhelming). Mix in a little budget and timeframe pressure along with some employees who may be resistant to change and you can have yourself an uphill battle. That said, the benefits of mobility are clear — so it’s a battle that’s well worth fighting. Here are a couple of tips to make your mobile deployment process as easy as it can be.

#1: Define Clear Goals For Your Mobile Solution
There are a few mistakes companies make early on in the mobile deployment process. The first is rushing to technology selection before you clearly define objectives for the solution you’re putting in place. It’s important to think first about the challenges you’re having with the processes or (older) mobile solution you have in place, and what it is that you’re looking for the new solution to accomplish. The second mistake companies often make, though, is stopping here. If you’re investing in a solution that will be in place for at least a couple of years before you make a change, now’s the time to also think forward. What functionality will you need in a year or two? Think about the workflow of your mobile employees and the value you provide to your customers — are there other areas that you could automate to further improve efficiency (like integrating GPS with your field service software solution), or functionality you could add to provide better service to your customers (like signature capture and credit card payment)? Maybe you won’t be able to incorporate all of this into your solution right away, but thinking ahead like this gives you an opportunity to choose a solution that will allow you expanded functionality during its lifecyle.

#2: Do Due Diligence In Technology Selection
It’s easy to want to rush through the technology evaluation and selection process because the options are so numerous, but you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. It’s also easy to make technology choices for the wrong reasons — because it’s the “coolest” or “cheapest” of the products, versus because it best addresses the goals you’ve defined (the right reason). Don’t rush this process, and really stick to selecting the solution that best addresses the needs you’ve outlined.

#3: Don’t Ignore The Need For Change Management
Whether you’re deploying your first mobile solution, or upgrading from one you currently have in place, it’s still a change. And anytime you’re introducing a change into your organization and asking your mobile workers to do something differently, you have to manage this change. Otherwise your deployment is not going to produce the results you hope it will. From employee engagement and buy-in to proper training and ongoing performance management, change management is crucial to a successful mobile deployment. In next month’s column, I’ll talk more about how to master change management.