Key considerations for connectivity & networks, change management & training, user support & solution maintenance in a mobile technology deployment
In part 1 of our 2-part blog post about key considerations for a mobile technology deployment, we highlighted critical issues about devices & hardware, applications & software, security & management that need to be considered in a mobile technology deployment. In part 2, we’ve outlined important issues related to connectivity & networks, change management & training, user support & solution maintenance.
Connectivity & Networks
Connectivity & coverage considerations: It’s important to understand where and when your users will need access to their applications and data. This will lead to decisions about what type of networks (i.e., cellular or Wi-Fi) will be used and when they will be used. For example, certain activities may take place in a central depot or warehouse at the beginning or end of the day; other activities take place at work sites and customer locations.
Offline access: Despite improvements in cellular data network coverage and throughput, the reality is that frontline workers will often encounter situations where pervasive connectivity is unavailable. Whether they are in an oil field or in the basement of a building, workers still need to access the critical data and information provided by their apps. Planning for offline access to data is crucial.
Cellular data plans & throughputs: As mentioned above, it’s important to understand the data requirements of applications in order to plan appropriately for cellular data plans and the necessary data throughputs.
Change Management & Training
Pre-launch device/hardware training: Assuming your frontline workers will be comfortable with new devices and other hardware is a recipe for disaster. This is especially true when it comes to purpose-built and ruggedized devices. Users need to fully understand device navigation, hardware indicators, on-board features such as barcode scanners and device charging and battery replacement.
Pre-launch application training: Companies too often rely on static PowerPoint decks, one-and-done instructor-led training or basic train-the-trainer scenarios where line managers are tasked with becoming subject matter experts. These approaches have proven to be inadequate for ensuring effective app usage and engagement. Organizations should instead look to methods that incorporate on-device training, simulations and micro-learning content. More importantly, this training should be instituted in advance of production software deployment to ensure users are comfortable and ready to use the technology on day one.
Process & workflow change training: It’s not just about teaching workers about the features and functionality of their devices and software. They also need to be provided with a clear understanding about how and when they need to use the new technology in the course of their daily jobs. A new app is often accompanied by new workflows and business processes and training on process changes goes hand-in-hand with training on mobile apps that require a contextual-based approach.
Employee communications: New technology deployments will create anxiety among many frontline workers. Their jobs are challenging enough without the disruption of earning and mastering new devices and apps. A clear communication plan, accompanied by more user-friendly training approaches can ease anxiety and encourage users to embrace, rather than fear, their new digital tools.
Staged rollouts and pilots: In addition to presenting technology proof-of-concepts and testing user acceptance, conducting staged rollouts and isolated field pilots provide the ability to receive real-world feedback in a controlled environment. These allow additional changes to be incorporated before widespread deployment.
User Support & Solution Maintenance
Ongoing training: Training can’t be a one-and-done approach for several reasons. Your workers won’t always retain everything from up-front training and they need the ability to refresh their knowledge “in the minute,” whether at a work site or a customer location or during downtime. Also, new employees need to be onboarded with their technology effectively so they can get up to speed as quickly as possible. And finally, app updates and changes are inevitable – without proper communication and training, there will be confused employees and improper usage of the app.
Help-desk & tech support: No matter how well you prepare and train users, there will be issues that require user support. Hardware malfunctions, connectivity issues, login problems, users forgetting how to do something correctly – all of these will be encountered along the way of a digital deployment. Without adequate resourcing and an easy way for employees to access support, the burden will fall upon line managers to fix problems as they arise.
Device lifecycle management: Organizations need to have clear processes and mechanisms to deal with devices over their lifetime. Devices will need to be sent to manufacturers for repair and there needs to be a clear understanding about warranty policies. Ultimately, devices will eventually need to be decommissioned, which requires wiping the hardware of all sensitive data and collecting devices for resale and/or safe disposal.
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.