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The Visible Value Blog

The three driving forces behind effective Field Mobility

Posted by David Stain

May 1, 2015 at 5:17 AM


When it comes to selecting a mobile device for your field workforce, return on investment is just as much about the realisation of the investment as it is the cost. True ROI calculations must take into account how much your chosen technology has supported and improved the productivity and effectiveness of your field workers and over what lifetime. This blog takes a look at the three key ways you can ensure your investment in mobile technology is successful.

Ensure you have the right mobile technology strategy

According to our research, there is a clear increase in the number of applications being used by field staff. Currently, workers are using an average of five applications, but this is expected to rise to eight over the next two years. So in order to drive productivity and remain competitive, businesses need to ensure this trend is incorporated into their field mobility technology strategies. By selecting a device that supports the growing range of activities, you’ll be meeting the needs of your workers and maximising efficiency levels.

Before making a choice between mobile devices, consider how the device will be used to support your field workers throughout its lifetime and then ensure that the devices you are considering support all of these activities.

The priorities and concerns

When building your mobile device strategy there will be a number of priorities and concerns you will need to address.

Topping our list of the major concerns for field mobility in our Research Guide was security. The research results showed that mobile solutions need to provide access to controls that will protect the enterprise if the device falls into the wrong hands, and guard against any viruses or non-vetted applications that could compromise the security of the data stored on the device.

Another priority was to enable greater speed and satisfaction in a manageable way. Companies want to reduce the time spent getting to and from jobs, improve customer satisfaction and enable field staff to report in real-time. Their chosen device therefore needs to support all the applications necessary to facilitate these requirements, from good route planning to real-time notifications and reports.

We also asked our companies specifically about invoicing, as field technology has the ability to improve this process dramatically. Only 32% of our respondents said they were invoicing instantly and only 38% were very satisfied with their invoicing speed. By choosing the right device, your company could enable instant sign off on service or delivery, prompting the invoicing system into action straight away.

By evaluating your priorities as part of building your field mobility strategy, you will ensure that the device you choose can deliver what’s needed for your strategy to be successful.

Once you have determined what you require in a device, which do you purchase?

There are numerous consumer-focused smartphones and tablets available today that offer business functionality on tempting terms, so we asked our respondents what their main concerns were when it comes to off-the-shelf devices. Our research revealed that the issues around consumer devices range from security features, how robust they are in the enterprise environment, to battery life. In fact, on average the companies we asked had at least two issues that were causing them concern when it comes to consumer devices.

Ultimately, although off-the-shelf smartphones and tablets offer business capabilities and often appear cheaper than enterprise-grade devices, the reality is that consumer devices don’t offer all the functionality and levels of robustness that field workers need. The total cost of ownership is significantly more. So if you want your field mobility strategy to be successful and you want to see a return on your investment, it’s essential that you choose an enterprise-grade device that can deliver all the functionality your field team needs for its entire service life.

Read the full results of our research and find out more about the debate between off-the-shelf and enterprise smartphones. Download our Field Mobility Research Guide by clicking here.

Topics: Supply Chain, Mobility, Manufacturing, EMEA, T&L, Field Mobility