Sunday, 5 August 2007

10 Essential Considerations for successful deployment

Ten essential considerations for successful Enterprise Mobility

1) The business case; Look closely at your business and identify the areas you think would benefit from mobilisation. Then, create model workflows to identify which parts of these processes can be mobilised, use a ‘before and after scenario to calculate the impact upon the workflows. This difference can then be utilised to calculate the return on investment (ROI) you’re likely to achieve. When evaluating the ROI, start with the paperwork. In almost all cases, removing the cost of processing paper-based forms should give you a tangible ROI to prove your business case. It’s easier to do that, than to try and measure the return on intangible benefits such as productivity.

2) Total cost of ownership; Make sure in your business case includes all the costs associated with your mobilisation project, this should include costs for the support of your field staff as they come to terms with the technology and on going help should they have any problems with the technology, the management of the devices and swap out of devices and updating the applications on the devices from time to time and of course that all important communications cost.

3) Mobile communications; Anyone who has used a mobile phone will know that they do not always have signal to make a call, and certainly some buildings will bock signal making calls from inside them difficult, this compounded with that in certain places the use of mobile phones is not allowed makes the use of mobile phones sometimes a challenge. The same applies to mobile devices and wireless data; therefore when choosing a mobile solution it is imperative that it works equally well without signal as with signal, not only this also ensures that the solution can manage all communication sessions without any intervention from the user.

4) IT Enterprise connectivity; It is a well know fact that when businesses deploy field mobility solutions its only the beginning of the experience, initially you may only need the field mobility solution to interface with a single element of your enterprise, such as your CRM system, however there will probably be future requirement for your field mobility solution to integrate into a ERP, Payroll, Intranet, GPS Tracking etc. Therefore it’s important to ensure that you pick a field mobility solution that uses industry standard interface technology such as XML and has the flexibility to work with all your enterprise systems and the flexibility to grow and change as your business grows and changes.

5) Change management; Introducing field mobility into your business will improve existing ways of working, not only this field mobility will allow for new ways of working. It’s a fact that once you have deployed your solution change will be inevitable, as a result of this you need to choose a solution that will easily allow changes to be made. Your chosen solution should be sophisticated enough to allow you to make changes and these changes can be over the air updated to the field workers, this will allow your business to be in control of your field mobility solution, thus minimising the impact on your business and your field workers and will allow you to react quickly to your customers changing requirements on your business. The over the air updating will minimise the impact change as on your field workers.

6) Diversity; if you have of staff who spend more than 20% of their working week out of the office can benefit from field mobility. Therefore once you have made the decision to deploy field mobility to part of your work force, doubtless you want to look at other area’s of the business that could benefit from field mobility, however the cost of deploying multiple field mobility solutions could prove expensive. Therefore ensure you choose a solution that if flexible enough to work over a variety of field activities and a variety of enterprise systems, through a single mobile gateway. Language support is also essential for either Global or European roll-outs.

7) Security; Security is a very subjective topic, since what one organisation would consider secure another organisation would see as very insecure! Therefore ensure that your chosen field mobility solution is flexible enough to work with your existing security policy. If you do not have a mobile device security strategy, ask your field mobility solution provider to provide a suggested strategy based on extending your current security policy.

8) Scope creep; It is very easy to extend the functionality of your field mobility project, this normally results in the project timescales being elongated and solution costs start to spiral out of control. Start with the examination of your field worker processes, identify the area’s that would benefit from mobilisation, produce a detailed set of functional requirements. This will become phase 1 of your field mobility strategy. Provide these functional requirements to your potential suppliers and get a fixed price quotation for undertaking the work. Also ensure that any potential supplier can support your wish list of functionality moving forward.

9) Pilot; One of the most important stages of mobilising your workforce is ‘testing the theory’. The live environment in which your staff work is vastly different to the office in which your mobile solution has been designed, therefore it is extremely important you test the final solution in a live environment before rolling it out to all the workforce. The pilot will enable you to test the then fine tune your mobile application ensuring best fit with the field workers environment. Not only this, it will be as valuable test of your training of the field workers to use their new tool.

10) Future proofing; It’s a well known fact that mobile technology such as PDA’s has an average life of 6 to 8 months before being upgraded or superseded. This means that during the implementation phase of your project, your target mobile device could no longer be available for your project. Therefore ensure your project caters for this by leaving the mobile device selection until you are ready to go live. As the mobile devices change so do their operating systems, so make sure your mobile application is also future proofed and that your supplier as a product road map which includes the support of future devices.

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