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Mobile field solution   30 crucial aspects for successful implementations
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Mobile field solution 30 crucial aspects for successful implementations

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This whitepaper is designed for ICT Managers. It analyses in different categories crucial success factors how to make a mobile field solution a success story for your company. ...

This whitepaper is designed for ICT Managers. It analyses in different categories crucial success factors how to make a mobile field solution a success story for your company.
There are technical hard- and software aspects as well as change managements aspects to keep in mind in order to get a mobile field force effectively working with a new medium such as mobile field force software.

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    Mobile field solution   30 crucial aspects for successful implementations Mobile field solution 30 crucial aspects for successful implementations Document Transcript

    • Designed for mobile field workers Planning a mobile field solution for your field force? 30 crucial aspects for successful implementations This whitepaper is designed for ICT Managers. It analyses in different categories crucial success factors how to make a mobile field solution a success story for your company. There are technical hard- and software aspects as well as change managements aspects to keep in mind in order to get a mobile field force effectively working with a new medium such as mobile field force software. Content I. Introduction II. Mobile field software III. Mobile Hardware devices IV. Mobile Support team & Helpdesk V. Training mobile field workers VI. Change management in mobile field projects VII. Conclusion VIII. Literature
    • Designed for mobile field workers I. Introduction Finding the right mobile solution for your field team is not an effortless project. New constantly developing technologies are making it challenging to find the right software which suits your business processes in the actual moment as well as in the future when your company evolves and your mobile team might be confronted with new challenges. Therefore a flexible mobile solution with a broad functionally proven by experience is needed. Plus your company or your software partner should be able to adapt fast and with small budgets the functionality if needed. You most likely do not want to end up having a “personalized standard solution”. You most likely prefer A flexible mobile to use standard mobile software which supports your “Critical solution with a outside business processes” with broad functionally • the right information, proven by • at the right time, experience is • at the lowest costs for your company. needed. The mobile field solution is most logically integrated with your business software (ERP) in order to reduce as much as possible manual work and to give greater transparency to all workers evolved in your customer contacts. You might consider therefore the mobile software offered by your ERP provider. This is in first place a very logical choice to contact. The question is, if your ERP provider is a “mobile specialist”. Many ERP providers tried many years – like SAP and Microsoft - to develop the right components to support mobile critical activities for field workers. In many times they succeed to build a good “CRM” tool for the “inside Service management”: to support the dispatching part of the field force solutions. However it is difficult to “mobilize” the philosophy of an ERP (to manage as smart as possible a gigantic amount of information in a company) into the world of a “mobile field force”. The mobile field worker needs a very limited info within a very critical time frame. On top in a lot of cases field workers have a restricted ergonomic: Limited info working “on site” on a construction site, on a electric installation or in a in a critical hospital does require a different tool than working at a PC in the time frame administration. Consider - next to a possible mobile solution from your ERP supplier - external mobile specialized solutions which are dedicated in supporting mobile business processes for outside mobility. As niche solutions they most probably offer standard interfaces to the commune ERP systems and reflect better the mobile needs since they are designed for mobile field workers. We like to support the ICT Manager or the Project Manager responsible for the Mobile IT Project with selected topics which can help you to choose the right solution and the correct partner. Make your mobile field solution a success story for your company.
    • Designed for mobile field workers II. Mobile Field Software There are many ways of finding solution, starting with talking to people how have already installed such system is a very good start because you get to listen to practical mobile expertise. Some other possibilities: Online Market place www.Marqit.nl / www.marqit.be A nice overview on mobility providers you can find in the web of MarQit plus Search for they offer an extreme good variety of whitepapers regarding mobile solutions. The mobile solution suppliers are listed with a short description to mobile the solutions. Plus you can compare the selected once in a nice overview. expertise Google: To google solutions we found difficult. A “local provider” is not easily listed on the “top spots” of google which are dominated by Microsoft and international players. Even worse it is to find the “right” partner in terms of the functionality of the software seems even harder. Therefore we recommend events dedicated to mobility: Events: www.enterprisemobilityexchange.com A conference dedicated to Mobility is the “Enterprise Mobility Exchange” which organizes in a workshop / exhibition flair all important players for a mobile project. In the workshops you can speak with companies which faced similar challenges as you might have. Belgium/Dutch event: www.field-service.nl “Kennis en ervaringen delen” De studiedag staan in het teken van interactie. Naast praktijkcases vinden er parallelsessies, workshops en live demosessies plaats. Alles met als doel u te voorzien van extra kennis waardoor u uw service organisatie kan verbeteren. “THE RIGHT MOBILE SOLUTION”: • Software as a Service (SaaS) Why not pay the software when you need it. Sounds logical? There are a lot of mobile software providers which follow a classical license model, where you pay in advance the license even so you run a longer period of testing’s or pilots. In financially critical moments like today, check offers which are based on “Software as a Service” (SaaS), where licenses are paid when needed and on a monthly fix fee, so you pay like a Cellular phone a fix rate for a “mobile service”. A SaaS solution does not automatically mean that you need to be always online or working in the internet, there are solutions who support OFF line functionalities and even better than your ERP System can handle in the moment! • Different views on the software are necessary. Mobile View: Most important of course is the view, ergonomic handling and functionality for the field workers. Manager View: Consider how important the Manager view on the mobile field team is as well. Your company has maybe a main or several group managers who are working with the Mobile field workers.
    • Designed for mobile field workers How can they access to the information? Will they work via handhelds or via bigger devices for the overview? Are they more “inside” or as well outside? Dispatcher view: the dispatching team needs to see “online” the activities of the field workers / field teams? Is the planning done by the dispatching team and how many “urgent” new jobs are to be planned in a day? Make sure the dispatcher has a comfortable way of comparing the schedules from various field workers and or can see in which process a field worker has already finished an actual service job. • Different “levels” of information is required. Are there practical tools foreseen from the mobile solution, who can manage different “levels” of information which will be provided to the customer or the installation? Is it easy and directly to manage e.g. to change the main menus on a user level, so users only see “what they need” not will functionality which is possible? • Implementation times: a solution “Out of the box” is the fastest solution to install. Does it cover your business processes? Perfect! Soon you have the maximum return on investment. An individual developed solution using some mainframe products as lotus notes or other “standard software” means you will always be the only one working on this solution, it might be perfect fitting but updates, new features, you will have to go for on your own cost as well and the solution provider will take a certain period to develop the solution which might effect on your “as sooner as better” wish to bring efficiency into your mobile work force. Some mobile solutions follow a philosophy following ERP Standard Software like SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Axapta, Infor or others: Choose out of standard mobile modules “out of the box” and try to cover with them approximately 80% of your business requirements. Search to optimize your mobile workflow and adapt the last crucial 20% on your company needs! Choose standard mobile modules “out of the box”, Updates are rolled out for a big customer base and cover approximately 80% new functionalities can cover future of your business business needs which you might need. requirements & adapt the • What does the solution provides in terms of security last crucial 20% on your of data on the device if: company needs! • A device gets stolen or if it is lost? • The battery dies before synchronization? • Synchronization with the ERP back office system. Do you have the knowledge “in-house” or do you need to ask your external ERP provider regarding the synchronization. Do you allow data to directly be written to your enterprise database application, or will you request a "staging database" or API layer to review all data before it is loaded to the ERP? Make sure you have the information about any future changes which might have an impact to the mobile application if there are changes done inside the ERP and vice versa. Look out how many database application you will need to synchronize with the mobile devices. ERP only or as well a CRM? Make sure, you can identify the cause of a possible synchronization error. How do you know when a mobile worker synchronizes the latest information?
    • Designed for mobile field workers Frequency of synchronization: How actual you want to receive and send information about service jobs? How many times you want to dispatch work orders to service technicians? What happens when the service technicians are “out of reach”? Define exactly what happens in case of a “disconnection”. Can you follow up in the central about the success of synchronization of each mobile worker? How long the synchronization runs? What is acceptable for your workers? Or can the synchronization process run in the background so the service technicians do not even notice if the synchronization is running? How many data is synchronized in a certain period of time via a certain type of connection? Can your mobile filed force continue working at the same time? • Updates Do you need to “send in” all mobile devices to the solution provider in order to update? Or is there any automatic update service assumed by the solution provider? Software: are there additional costs of the updates? Is the integration of the update in your mobile solution – the service from your solution provider included in the % they ask? Make sure your providers offers a “push” of synchronization when there is an update. Make sure your mobile field force is working on the latest version. It is a big hustle to need to work with an overview from the provider who is using which version! Updates of the solution: Do you have a test surrounding where you can first test the mobile applications adaptations or new modules available before getting the roll out to all your mobile field workers? Will you give an “online” learning tool to each update of the application so field workers will know what to do with the new software modules? Be aware: Are there additional costs of updates (maintenance contract & implementation of update)?
    • Designed for mobile field workers III. Mobile Hardware Devices 1. Hardware devices: maybe the field workers have not all the same type of “mobile jobs”. Can you mix different devices with the mobile solution? Different carriers? Your field workers are in different countries therefore with different providers, connections, displays, etc. ? Do the field workers need “real ruggedized” or rather consumer type of devices? How much “ruggedized mobile devices” your field worker need? Best is: Test different kinds of Hardware devices in a Pilot phase in the different areas you work in. Use an “open” operating system like windows mobile or others. Which can be installed on all type of different devices. Then: Test, Test, Test. Usability, battery life, ergonomics, etc. You can ask your solution provider what they recommend and add your own test experience! You rather make your decision based on real experiences with your own people working on the future solution and devices. The success of the project is the best mix for your company. 2. Warranty: how long is the warranty for the Hardware and which Service concept offers the provider? On site exchange? Support in 4h or an online help in all of your regions? 3. RFID, Barcodes, GPS, Internet Some solutions work with RFID, GPS, barcodes, etc. all these different devices have a different impact on the possibilities of mobile business process. Calculate the different possibilities based on the possible “earnings” in terms of time saved, errors reduced, etc. in order to be able to decide on the different impact on the business process and investment. Data Service connection: how much does the wireless connection cost? Is the data-plan correct or is after a while less or more consumed? Define a limit and control why it goes if it happens over it? Redefine the cost in fix time sets every 3-6 month to keep track. 4. Security Mobile devices Who & how do you arrange the security control of the mobile devices? If you install 10 users, you still have a “manual” possibility to control the devices. If we talk about 30+ make sure, you have a remote way of accessing to any mobile device. Keep track who is working with which type of device in order to be able to decide about operating system update, or firmware update, etc. You will want to make sure that no memory is used, by too many saved pictures or games which use the memory on the PDA and the mobile solution application becomes either too slow or unreliable.
    • Designed for mobile field workers IV. Mobile Support Team & Helpdesk 1. Define who to call in first level support if the field worker has a problem with the mobile device. And or define – if this is a different person - who to call in first level support if the field worker has a problem synchronizing the mobile application. 2. Will you have the possibility to define a Data Bank Admin who defines the user right, groups, security rules, etc. of the mobile solution? 3. Note all hotline numbers and emails which are important (hard/software) to contact • List of hotline numbers & emails your suppliers; does your company has a “reference or customer” number which you • List of FAQ’s for your support team need to refer to when calling? • Count on limited PC knowledge 4. Define with your suppliers (mobile device hardware and software) the responsibilities and whom to contact if there shall be a problem. Write it down and make it known in your IT team. Mobile critical activities have a need of instant solution, so if you should not be there, make sure someone can help! 5. If your company hires additional workers can you get single new devices and additional users? Did you negotiate a group / corporate discount which count as well adding only one more? He carrier of the mobile data has a corporate tariff as well? 6. Updates of the “operation system” on the mobile devices. You need new devices and you can only buy devices with the latest version of e.g. Windows mobile operation system. Will your solution be automatically upgraded to the new operation system? Who will pay the upgrade? Who will secure a “bug free” update? 7. Internal Help desk: count on limited computer knowledge of the end-users. Consider a catalogue of questions in order to facilitate the first level support to detect the most commune errors. Advice your helpdesk to log the support calls with time / day/ devise serial number in order to get a historic view on the internal necessary support. Maybe you can even organize new trainings based on certain repetition of errors or introduce a “handout: how to …” which helps to reduce in the future certain calls to the inside helpdesk. 8. Urgent cases. Make a list of FAQ or things which can happen and “what to do”. Examples: Mobile device gets “lost” (stolen or lost). Wireless network provider fails in the network Truck rolls over the mobile device and destroys it complete. 9. Organize a always “up to date” list with HR which mobile device is used by the employees, if they use a cradle, Bluetooth, wireless, USB, cellular or satellite connection to synchronize, which wireless carrier is used and which technology and through-put speed the mobile device is using. etc. As more global you go, as more info you sould keep track of to be able to give a quick and good support to your field teams. 10. Which other tools can be used to detect and solve possible errors? NTR Support Mobile device management software Detect Problem Software: which of t solutions is causing t problems? 11. Your mobile force is “sharing” devices? Does the mobile solution offers any useful help for this? Does the mobile field solution log information on user level? This will help to identify if it is a device problem or a special user problem.
    • Designed for mobile field workers V. Training mobile field workers 1. Consider a solution is only as good as people know that functionality EXISTS. Saving money in training your people is the least effective. Consider rather a day more than you would think of just to have a good and correct budget in training. 2. Talk with some references of the mobile solution provider and ask them how long they initially trained their mobile field farce and if there was after a first period a refresh training necessary. Would they have extended – looking at it afterwards – the training more hours/days? 3. Set up a trainings automatism for new employees. Let’s get them in an automatic process to be trained in the handling of the new device and the application handling. Instruct HR Team to have the training in mind.
    • Designed for mobile field workers VI. Change management in mobile field projects A mobile project is as good as the input from your technical colleagues and the definition of requirements. The challenge in mobile projects in comparison with classical ERP projects is, that your technical colleague’s are not already used to software as a “work tool”. Like always in life: there a good side and a bad to it! The Good side: Your filed workers do not want to reproduce the old software into the new software like often happening in ERP projects. The Bad side: they might have big difficulties to define their requirements in view on a ITC solution since they are not used to work with IT media. To imagine having to use a handheld is for a few field workers serious. They do like their “pen and paper” and using IT will be certainly having a bigger barrier than within “administration workers”. Here are Five out of 6 most common reasons cited why a project “overruns” costs and why it “drags out” unnecessarily than you will see how important the following tips are which we recommend: A mobile solution is 1. Lack of user input as good as the input 2. Incomplete requirements from the technical 3. Changing requirements 4. Technology incompetence & employees & the 5. Unrealistic expectations. clear definition of the If you take a look into these points there are very little which depend on you: Exept point 4 which you could state as “your” responsibility, mobile workflow & you need the input of your field workers to make the mobile software requirements! project a success story. Here some tips, how to get started: 1. Create a “Mobile Field Specialist Team” which defines with you the mobile field processes. The business process you want to “mobilize” needs to be approved by the people who “do the job” – therefore try from begin to set up the mobile business processes with the “Mobile Field Specialist Team” and their managers. This will reduce the fear or the thoughts of “big brother is watching you” and make them feel more at ease to use a mobile solution. This team can then evaluate in the second step continuously the optimization potential of the mobile solution and improves the application continuously. Choosing a good solution is one, getting better every day the other. Your people will have new ideas how to optimize the system; you can collect the information and discuss it with your solution provider. 2. Make sure your management is behind you and supports the mobile project. Mobile project are heavily important to get more efficiency in the mobile filed force. If the management stands 100% behind you, it will be easier to prevail in certain “unpleasant” aspects of a mobile solution such as e.g. the possible control of over hours. 3. Give a strong mental picture to the “Mobile Field Specialist Team”. The field works are often missing the recognition of the admin people of Management from “inside” of the company. The mobile project vision shall be motivating and transmits how important the field workers are and how important the mobile project for your company is:
    • Designed for mobile field workers You can start demos/ presentations e.g. with: a. Highlighting the strategic significance of the change b. Clearly formulating a vision for the change VII. Conclusion A mobile solution is a powerful tool to reduce costs & to increase efficiency in your mobile work force immediately with a ROI within month. The choice for the right partner and the right solution are the basics in order to archive these two main goals so therefore make sure your choice is the right choice for your company! We hope you can ask more questions with the help of this information paper in order to ask the right question to find your right partner! VIII. Literature & interesting links: 1. Mobile Commerce: Grundlagen und Techniken von Key Pousttchi, Klaus Turowski, Springer Verlag 2. www.motorola.com 3. www.wi-mobile.de 4. https://www.xing.com/net/wmc/ 5. Enterprise Mobility Exchange 2010 6. https://www.xing.com/net/kvdservicecommunity/ 7. https://www.xing.com/net/mcta/ 8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Change_Management_%28ITSM%29 9. http://www.compaid.com/caiinternet/ezine/forselius-scope.pdf Odyssee Mobile Elke Krämer – Marketing Manager Av. Stalingradlaan 100 1000 Brussel Belgium T + 32 2 513 48 19 F + 32 2 513 85 17 M info@odysseemobile.com