Key considerations for devices & hardware, applications & software, security & management in a mobile technology deployment
Mobile apps and handheld devices are now essential tools for any field workforce. And the pressure to deploy new apps and updates to workers as fast as possible continues to intensify. But getting mobile workers properly trained on their digital tools isn't easy and poor training can impact a company’s bottom line.
We’ve put together a comprehensive checklist of practical considerations for a successful digital deployment. In part 1 of our 2-part blog post, we’ve outlined key aspects of devices & hardware, applications & software and security & management that need to be considered for a successful mobile technology deployment. In part 2, we’ll highlight important issues related to connectivity & networks, change management & training, user support & solution maintenance.
Devices & Hardware
Fulfillment, kitting & imaging: When you’re deploying thousands of devices to thousands of workers dispersed across the country or the world, the basic mechanics of distribution become complicated. Devices need to be appropriately kitted with the right hardware including peripherals, chargers, etc. In many cases, the appropriate software needs to be pre-loaded onto devices before shipping. And, once delivered, devices need to be stored securely.
Peripherals: It’s often not just handhelds, tablets or laptops that are being deployed. Many digital deployments involve peripherals such as barcode scanners and printers that accompany devices.
Applications & Software
Buy or build?: The choice between buying packaged software vs. developing applications in-house is a decision that will take many factors into account including available internal resources, customization requirements and cost.
User experience & testing: A frequently overlooked aspect in digital deployments is the diligence required to test software not just for bugs but for the overall user experience. After all, if the application is overly complicated or confusing, the outcome is poor user engagement – which means no ROI from your investment.
Data utilization & consumption: How data intensive and “chatty” an application is will have significant impacts on issues such as the type of network connectivity required to support the solution and what type of data plans are needed.
Logging, bug-fixing & updates: There always needs to be a formal process for logging bugs and feedback from user experience testing. This still holds true whether you are developing an application in-house or working with an external vendor.
App distribution: Once your application is developed and ready for pilot testing or full rollout, there needs to be a defined distribution mechanism in place. This often involves using a mobile device management platform or enterprise app store. In some cases where external users such as contractors or customers are involved, public app stores may provide another distribution option.
Analytics: It’s critical to have platforms and tools in place that provide visibility into overall app adoption rates, engagement and feature usage. Perhaps the single most overlooked aspect of enterprise mobile applications, app analytics provide the ability to gather quantitative data about user experience and ultimately to measure the effectiveness of your digital initiative or determine ROI.
Security & Management
Enterprise mobility management (EMM)/mobile device management (MDM): Any enterprise mobile deployment requires the ability to manage and secure devices, application, and data. As mentioned above, not only do EMM/MDM platforms provide a mechanism for initial app distribution but it’s also needed for pushing out app updates, defining and enforcing permissions for devices, apps and users and securing enterprise data on devices.
Authentication & user management: Secure app deployments implies the need for strong authentication practices. Your organization may already be using a form of single-sign-on (SSO) such as Azure Active Directory. In some cases, however, frontline workers may not be enrolled in Azure AD, and therefore require an alternative means for authentication. Additionally, there needs to be a defined plan for how new employees and other users (such as temporary and contract workers) are entered into directories – and removed when they leave the organization.
Security reviews & validation: In virtually all scenarios, you will be working with multiple external vendors. A defined process for reviewing and validating 3rd-party vendors to ensure they comply with your security policies is critical.
Take the first step toward a better trained, more efficient, more productive workforce and download our Complete Checklist for Mobile Workforce App Deployments. From our extensive experience working with mobile technology and large field workforces, we’ve seen time and time again how missing any one of these items can prevent a digital solution from achieving its desired business results.
Skyllful is a leading provider of a mobile digital adoption platform that helps companies with large, mobile workforces deploy mission-critical enterprise mobile applications smoothly and successfully. With deep expertise of mobile technology and best practice field deployments as well as a leadership team with decades of experience working with large enterprise mobile workforces and applications, Skyllful offers a platform for empowering field workers to use enterprise mobile apps more efficiently and effectively, maximizing the positive effect of mobile application deployments.
Skyllful’s approach to technology-driven training and engagement combines on-device, on-demand, contextual-based simulations, reinforcement activities, deep analytics and reporting on field readiness for an enterprise-wide view of mobile employees’ impact on the organization. Whether a company is deploying a new mission-critical workforce app or seeking to improve its workforce engagement with existing apps, the Skyllful platform is easy to use, intuitively designed and proven to increase productivity and deliver greater returns on investments in technology.