IT decision-makers want to take advantage of mobility to boost productivity and increase user satisfaction, while reducing overall spending
There some best practices you can adopt to streamline the deployment process, ensuring a smooth and positive rollout
WORK is no longer restricted to the office. With more employees requesting work access on their personal smart devices, it is evident that the ground rules of work are changing.
IDC estimates that 40% of employees in Asia Pacific will be mobile workers by 2015, with the majority of them being office workers.
With all the hype surrounding mobility, I have encountered similar questions from IT decision-makers around the region on how they can take advantage of mobility programmes to boost productivity and increase user satisfaction, while reducing their overall mobility spending.
There some best practices you can adopt to streamline the deployment process, ensuring a smooth and positive rollout. Here are some practical tips for IT decision-makers to consider as they make the transition to mobility.
Understand the needs and pain points of your mobile workers
Many times, the business’ IT department has its own agenda and goals for a new technology deployment. This is often driven by the need to streamline IT processes or capture additional data in the field as the result of a new corporate initiative.
However, it is extremely important that you invest the time to understand the culture and needs of your workforce. This is a critical element of a successful deployment rollout.
We advise IT planning personnel to conduct ride-alongs with field teams or host focus groups in order to get a sense of their day-to-day challenges and pain points. This allows you to observe redundancies and inefficiencies as well as collect feedback directly from the end-users.
It also communicates to your workforce early on that you are interested in addressing its needs and helping make their jobs easier.
Initiate small pilot or trial programmes
Once you understand the needs of your workforce and start evaluating solutions, initiate pilot programmes to test different solutions in the field.
A small pilot programme with a select group of users can be valuable. They can get a feel of the workflow with the possible devices and communicate their feedback. Tracking key information, such as the number of repairs/ service calls per day or turnaround times during the pilot phase will help earn management and financial buy-in as well as acceptance from the larger team.
Select partners that offer ongoing support once the solution is deployed
Choose partners that will provide support and services once the technology is in the field. As with any new rollout, it will take time for the devices and associated software to be fully accepted and usable.
Partners that provide on-site assistance and support after the initial purchase will significantly reduce the time your IT department spends training and assisting workers with technology transitions.
Offer comprehensive training for all your mobile users
Once you have selected the best solution, prepare a detailed rollout plan that includes employee training. Without the proper training, we find users often do not use the technology to its maximum potential.
To get the most out of your investment, we recommend choosing a day and time to roll out the solution to the entire team. During this training, use advocates of the technology to share success stories from the pilot programme and share the key improvement metrics that you captured and quantified.
Using the participants from the pilot programme to engage their peers will help create excitement and lower resistance to the new processes.
With any mobile technology investment, you are purchasing a solution, not individual devices. Without training and acceptance from your workforce, you will likely face an uphill battle.
Engaging your field workforce early on and listening to your employees’ needs will create interest in the new solution and expedite your return on investment.
Opportunity for value-creation
With the proliferation of personal smart devices, businesses can no longer afford to ignore mobility, especially when the business benefits are too valuable to be overlooked.
By integrating these best practices into their mobility model, businesses can reduce mobility spending, encourage broad mobility participation, respect employee privacy and enhance their personal experience – without compromising on security and compliance or driving up support costs.
By taking these approaches to adopt mobility, I believe that businesses can tap into this trend to differentiate themselves from their competitors, ultimately creating an opportunity for value-creation rather than just cost minimisation while meeting their overall business objectives.
Satoshi Mizobata is director of the Toughbook Asia Pacific Group at Panasonic Systems Asia Pacific. Based in Singapore, he is responsible for the overall leadership, growth, and strategy of the Panasonic Toughbook across the Asia Pacific region, including Malaysia, Australia, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.
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