This guide speaks to an internal mobile need (to empower your workforce) rather than external mobile need (to better service your customers).
What is your desired business outcome?
Since you’re already an expert in your field – think about the most important things that your staff track or need to track in order to provide the information for you to effectively manage your company. Do you produce goods? You’ll want to know your KPIs that show how productive your team is. Do you bill time to clients? You’ll want to know what your staff is working on, when, and how closely they are meeting deadlines and deliverables. Do you service customers? How effective are your staff and are they doing the tasks they need to do in a timely manner. How does service levels compare between your staff? Are they all following the same process for customer onboarding, outbound follow ups and more?
If you need help determining your key metrics to focus on, make sure you sign up for our free email course on improving your bottom line with a solid it strategy.
The Platform – What devices do you focus on?
What’s a platform? The first biggest platform question for mobile will be do you want to support Apple or Android devices. This is a much easier question for an internal facing application as you’ve likely already standardized on either Android or Apple phones. Don’t worry – selecting a platform now doesn’t mean it’s set in stone with great tools like Apache Cordova or Phonegap that let you reuse components between the two major platforms.
You can implement a mobile application in two ways ‘Native’ or ‘Hybrid’. Native means using the core native functionality of the device – so for Apple devices that means Swift, Objective-c. For Android devices your code will be Java or another language that uses the JVM.
The Hybrid option basically lets you write the majority of the logic for your solution in a common language that both device types can understand, and only do the native functions you need to implement your product.
Are your staff already carrying phones?
Great, if they are recently provisioned devices then you’ve likely already narrowed down the platform choice to what your staff are comfortable with. Unless you’re shopping for new hardware.
Does your current database adapt to mobile?
For a mobile strategy to make sense it will obviously need to integrate with whatever information systems your company currently uses. If you’re using a legacy system like Access or a custom application with only a thick user interface (written in something like Visual Basic, Delphi, etc)
Data Collection – How can you leverage automation?
If you’re doing just-in-time warehousing then you have potentially a slew of data available – 1D and 2D barcodes on shipping boxes, shipping automation data feeds, RFID tags and locators. It’s great to take a step back and think – how can you get the data you need, in the least invasive way possible.
If you’re a service provider you’ll need to make sure that your staff have as few restrictions as possible to to collect the data your need. This might mean a tablet based solution that lets them get customer information as quickly as possible – instead of typing out someone’s name, address, etc – scan from it from a License, or import them from your lead management system.
There’s other ways we can automate data collection too – you can assign employee ID tags when they swipe in/out, or even tracking a resources location by GPS or RFID. Don’t want to spend a lot on hardware to test out a concept? Kiosks can be placed in common areas to trial and staff can use them to collect before buying a fleet of devices.
These are just a few strategies you can look into within your company. Over the last decade we have helped several companies in South Western Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area revamp their business processes to utilize mobile and automated data collection strategies. If you need a hand developing your strategy we offer Consulting Packages to create your IT Strategy. Schedule your free call today to get a glimpse into a simpler life with less headaches, and more profits!