From The Editor | June 23, 2008

Keys To Mobile Excellence

Technology is an enabler, but sound service strategies and processes are the key to the success of a mobile solution deployment.

Integrated Solutions, July 2008

Getting the right person to the right job with all the information they need to complete the job at the lowest possible cost is an ongoing struggle field organizations face. I recently participated in a Webinar titled Building The Business Case For Service.

Mobility Excellence that examined the challenges associated with deploying a mobile solution and provided attendees with sound advice on how to overcome these challenges.

The Webinar illustrated that many mobile solution challenges are inherent to the application architecture itself. For example, mobile solutions require large volumes of data to be compressed, encrypted, and sent via a network in less than a second. Furthermore, most mobile solutions also require thousands of devices to be tracked, maintained, upgraded, and supported by the field organization. Lastly, problems associated with performing these functions are often compounded considering Web or thin-client applications perform poorly over casually connected networks.

Other than myself, the Webinar included presenters from Agentek, Motorola, and AT&T, so it's not surprising that technology was identified as a key enabler of a fully connected and effective mobile workforce solution. In fact, three 'technology pillars' were identified that are most instrumental in empowering your field force. These pillars include:n A mobile software platform that delivers services that drive value (e.g. parts management, resource planning, and schedule/route optimization)n A feature-rich computer that is ruggedized and offers the transaction power, security, and scalability necessary in the fieldn A reliable data communications architecture that offers data optimization, compression technology, and device flexibility

While the technology information was helpful, a clear message was also delivered that adopting technology for technology's sake alone will do nothing to solve your field service problems. A business needs to perfect its field service processes and strategies first to ensure its technology investment pays dividends. From my perspective, the process and strategy suggestions shared in the Webinar were the most valuable content.

For example, the Webinar stressed the importance of getting a true sense of what is occurring in the field by observing the daily actions of your mobile workers. It was suggested that the party responsible for the field service operation engage in regular ride-alongs with its mobile technicians to document how much travel is involved in an average workday, time each service call, and map the data flow and processes involved in each transaction.

More InfoFor more tips on achieving excellence in field service and mobility, visit

Another interesting tip was to ensure you've established a solid deployment, training, and support plan before you invest in your first piece of technology. Technology deployments that stretch over a year or more can have a negative impact on the ROI of the project. When you decide on a solution, you want to ensure you have the pieces in place to deploy it quickly and ensure user adoption.

These two examples are just a few of the insights shared during this hour-long Webinar held last month. If you wish to learn more, the entire Webinar is archived on Agentek's Web site