On a hot summer day, Dan (field Technician) drives to a client site. Dan parks his 4WD and looks around. Site is remote and centre of nowhere. Dan picks-up his gear and enters client site. He feels lost. Looking at massive collection of gigantic machinery, he talks to his mobile device:
“Hey Siri, direct me to client asset”
“Sure! Go straight for 300 meters and report to Client Admin office on your right. Asset-65 is 40 meters on left of Admin office”
Dan reports to Admin office and starts his work. He talks to mobile device again.
“Hey Siri, take general recordings for boiler”
“Dan! Have you done Take-5 safety check?”
“Siri – Take-5 check done”
“Yes Dan – Go on”
“Siri, commit and send job”
“Yes Dan! Done!”
Dan’s office receives information from Dan’s mobile device. Dan moves to next job, which was dispatched on his mobile device an hour ago.
This is the future where enterprise mobility is heading.
We all know benefits and value mobility can add to our business. Then, why we do not see a lot of momentum in mobility initiatives? I think one of the main reasons is lack of ability to deal with some serious challenges:
So, what should we do? Delay all decisions, wait everything to settle and then invest in mobility?
Now is the time to plan and implement mobility. Businesses are under constant threat by global completion. We do not have a choice. Eventually businesses have to embrace mobility solutions. However, nature of business and business model would determine its urgency.
Let us see how business should plan their mobility strategy:
1. Have a big picture in mind: It is about business strategy. We need clear vision about business model. How we see our business changing in two to five years:
- Field staff taking business development opportunities directly with clients
- Office staff to work from home and save cost on office real estate and other overheads
- Optimise and automate field staff allocation based on geographic location, skill-set and qualification
- Open-office plans to increase collaboration
2. Identify problem: Identify current business problems. Analyse how mobility can help to resolve these problems. For example:
- Increased cost due to people movement and travel
- Uncharged time for consultants and technicians
3. Start small: Start small with big picture in mind. Fund small projects and ideas within your business. Encourage staff to participate and share their experiences. Be Agile; incrementally roll out new mobility solutions. Iteratively improve existing solutions.
4. Think simple and smarter: To start mobile journey, we do not need big ERPs and expensive devices. Think how we can make next improvement. Do not find the silver bullet that will resolve all issues at once.
Let me share an example with you. Consider field Technicians come to Admin office to pick-up their work-orders every day. At the end of day, they go back to Admin office to return completed work-orders and timesheets. Clearly, Technicians travel time is waste. Mobility solution can eliminate this waste.
One of the easy way to do this is to handover Laptop and Printer to each Technician. Every working day, Technicians checks their email and print out work-orders from home. At the end of day, they scan back work-orders and timesheets to Admin office. This solution can be first step towards mobility. Later, business can develop Mobile App to records and share information.
5. Engage employees: Do not underestimate employees. They may already have prior mobility experience. Share information with them. Ask for solutions. Consult with them.
6. Focus on complete value-chain: In order to realise full potential of mobility, end-to-end value chain should improve.
For example, if office staff lacks necessary tools for customer service and invoicing. Merely improving mobility will not make tangible difference in service. The capability should improve for all processes within value-chain.
7. Change Management: Adapting to mobility tools takes time. Employees may have to reprogram their brains. It can be a steep learning curve sometimes. It can be shift in business processes and culture. So, be patient and supportive in journey to enterprise mobility.
Here is a question for you? How you see opportunities/challenges that mobility will bring to your business? Are you ready to handle it? What are you doing today to ensure success for your enterprise mobility?
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