Here are 5 common mistakes that you would be wise to avoid as your company adopts mobile technologies:
1. Picking a one-size-fits-all device- laptops, tablets and smartphones all have unique capabilities, so you may want to maintain flexibility and avoid buying apps that only work on one type of device. Instead, consider a Right Device, Right Person policy.
Laptops - Work best for large estimates, complex calculations,or jobs with large crews and lots of data entry.
Tablets - Lightweight, fast with instant-on capabilities, simple to learn and use, great battery-life, and they are relatively inexpensive at $300 - $600. Tablets are “Foremen-friendly.”
Smartphones - Easy to carry with GPS capabilities and wireless plans normally included. Data entry can be difficult if the mobile app isn’t optimized for smartphones.
2. Betting the farm on one operating system (OS)- The Android OS is dominant in smart phones, while Apple’s iPads with iOS are dominant in tablets. Windows 8 is a late entrant and distant 3rd in both categories. It’s too early to tell which operating system will become more popular, so it may be wise to consider buying mobile apps that work well across multiple devices.
3. Choosing mobile apps that won’t work without an internet connection- Remember to consider how and when your mobile devices will connect to the internet as you choose mobile apps. Some tablets come with built-in cellular data capabilities, but they are typically more expensive ($130 more for the iPad with cellular vs. the Wi-Fi only device) and that doesn’t include the monthly data plans. Wi-Fi-only devices are cheaper, but they require the employee to sync each day at a wireless network, and they are best with mobile apps that still work in an off-line mode.
Tip - To save money, some companies are buying Wi-Fi only devices for the field, combined with one wireless hotspot per job site. This saves money on the hardware and cellular plans, while still giving them internet connectivity at each job site. They also use mobile apps that work off-line so that employees can still enter data when they are out of network range.
4. Not getting enough input from end-users- Consider getting input from the end-users as you purchase new apps or devices. The end-users usually have a good understanding of the working environment, business processes, and sometimes the linkages to other software systems that will need to integrate well with the mobile apps. Not having them involved early in the purchase decision could lead to mistakes and a slower implementation.
5. Launching mobile apps company-wide - Mobile apps are exciting, especially when they allow you to monitor job costs and production each day, but moving too quickly might lead to expensive mistakes like buying the wrong mobile devices or software. We’ve seen customers have success starting their mobile adoption with a small pilot group. This is usually an inexpensive way to get started quickly, and you can uncover needs, find issues, or change old business processes before you involve the whole company. If you have questions about implementing mobile apps in your company, give us a call at 800-683-3196 and we’ll be happy to help.