Will mobile apps for field staff save my company money?

I run an engineering business and have a team of engineers roaming the country. I can see ways that mobile applications could be useful to them for tasks like compiling reports, invoicing and improving communications. However, a lot of my engineers have been with me for years and aren’t very IT savvy. How do I guarantee that if I go down this route I will get a return on my investment and ensure that roll-out is even across the company?


A. Graham Bunting of Avaya writes:

Mobility covers everything from office equipment to occasional travellers to home workers. Typical mobile workers still need access to corporate email as well as the office telephone communications systems and possibly intranet.

Transactional businesses generate a lot of paperwork and automating this can save time and increase accuracy and simplicity. However, your staff must embrace the transformation and your business processes need to evolve without great opposition. The deployment of any new infrastructure has some critical success factors. For example, the degree to which you invest in appropriate training will seriously impact the degree of success you enjoy.

Consider each and every process that you are automating and the impact on your business and your people as this is key to effective implementation. If everyone involved sees what’s in it for them, it will be more successful.

Some of your long-term employees, for example, might see this as a threat to them and some may think their jobs are at risk. Articulate the reasons for the change, how it will make life easier, enable a better service and increase pay-back. Doing so will help the team buy into the business mission. Technology is only one piece of the jigsaw, and given that the majority of businesses are about the right people, ignoring this can be costly.

Finally, begin with a good plan. Timetable realistically from the end point backwards and regularly check your progress. Ensure you start by involving all the stakeholders in your vision and programme of change. Explain how it impacts on them positively and how they will still be part of the new automated world. It’s about playing as a TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More.

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