Selecting the right field mobility solution for your business requires evaluating a number of different elements, including the features and functions available in the software, as well as making sure the solution vendor is a good fit for your company. Putting aside some of the more specific technical features, one of the most important areas to look at is whether or not the solution can help you meet your overall business goals. If you deploy the system, can you actually improve efficiency and customer service? Will you meet your key performance indicator benchmarks?
When it comes to making sure that the solution will help you meet your business goals, there are three key things to look for in a field mobility solution:
Is the new solution easier or harder for technicians to use than the solution or process you are replacing? Field service technicians can’t be bogged down by a sluggish user interface, clunky data entry options, or complex applications that require them to complete multiple steps or open multiple screens to do their work. If technicians work with gloves, then they should be able to enter data on a mobile device while wearing them.
The system cannot be cumbersome or duplicative, or users won’t embrace or possibly even use the solution.
Field mobility solutions are generally created to replace paper forms, and should be as straightforward to use as writing the information down — just much faster and more reliable. Even most rugged device manufacturers have adopted user interfaces that mimic consumer devices like the iPad because they know that end users are already familiar with them. The more intuitive the interface, the less time you have to invest in employee training. Technicians can be up and running on the new solution more quickly.
The new system should make mobile employees’ lives easier and empower them to provide better customer service. Your mobile employees want to do the best job possible, so the mobile technology should enable that level of service.
Deployment success will depend on support from the field technicians, so user adoption is critical. You should be able to demonstrate to your employees how the new field mobility solution will make it easier for them to do their jobs, complete work more quickly, provide greater customer satisfaction, and allow them to provide more value to the company.
Evaluate your field and back office processes to make sure you aren’t just automating poor processes. Putting technology on top of a flawed process simply gets you the wrong results faster. Work with a vendor or integrator that can help you take the critical process redesign steps to ensure a successful field mobility solution deployment.
The new solution should be flexible and scalable enough to grow and change with your own business requirements and customer volume. You should also be able to customize the system to meet your unique operational needs.
The system should provide straightforward integration with back-end systems, dispatch solutions, GPS fleet management technology, and other systems. Otherwise you’ll wind up moving your process bottlenecks from the field to your admin staff, who have to spend time manually moving information from one system to another.
The solution should also support multiple mobile hardware platforms and form factors. The mobile devices you deploy today can be obsolete in just a few years; you don’t want your field mobility solution tied to an outdated hardware platform.
By focusing on your own business needs, you’ll be able to select a system that is flexible enough for your operation, user-friendly, and that can empower your mobile workers to do their jobs faster and better.