Mobile technologies can boost a firm’s productivity, efficiency, and its revenue… if implemented correctly. Many of the articles and lectures praising the virtues of mobile devices leave out that crucial fact. That’s why it’s vital that if you’re going to implement mobile technologies at your organization, especially if it’s one that employs field service technicians, you understand what the best practices are so that you get the most out of these solutions. Read on to learn what steps you can take to ensure that the implementation goes smoothly and you reap the maximum benefits.
The nature of the work field service technicians perform (regardless of their field or industry) requires devices that are up to the task. Mobile devices must be rugged so that they can survive in some of the more challenging environments in which field service technicians work.
Some mobile device vendors claim their products are built to be tough and can withstand all sorts of events and settings. But how do you really know if those claims will hold up? You have to go beyond the marketing hype. Understanding the terms and certifications used is very important.
When you’re purchasing mobile devices for field service technicians, look for certifications, not statements. A certification means that an independent organization has tested and verified that the device will still work under a variety of conditions. For example, the International Electrotechnical Commission uses the Ingress Protection Rating to determine how well a device performs when it’s exposed to dust, dirt, and water.
Be aware that not all certifications are created equal. The Military Standard, developed by various branches of the US Military and the Department of Defense, leaves manufacturers quite a bit of wiggle room. To wit, the temperature shock certification doesn’t define the range of temperatures or the amount of time to which the device is exposed to them.
This bit of advice applies to the devices and the platforms and apps on the device.
User experience is paramount. If users don’t have a positive experience, they won’t utilize the mobile device. That leads to two results: a wasted investment and a failure to realize the goals of the mobile technology project (which could be improved efficiency, higher productivity, creating a competitive advantage, etc.).
The device and the platform have to be easy to use. This has nothing to do with the user’s education or intelligence. Field service technicians don’t have time for elaborate processes or clunky interfaces – those slow them down. A consultation process with field service technicians can identify what would make an ideal user experience, so there’s a higher level of user satisfaction.
Field service technicians have to receive thorough training on how to use the device so that it helps them do their jobs. Simply handing them a smartphone or tablet and hoping they’ll figure it out is a terrible strategy.
Training is also the time to address security issues. Mobile devices can access sensitive, mission-critical information, and employees at every level of the organization need to know how to keep that safe.