What is Mobility?
When we talk about Mobility we are referring to the ability to enter and retrieve data into our business system(s) directly from a portable device as if we were working from a desktop or laptop computer. When we say “portable device” we are typically talking about a smart phone (i.e. IPhone or Droid device) or tablet such as an I-Pad or other similar tablet. In addition to these common every day devices there are also other more ruggedized devices available that use some of the same technology as the smart phones and tablets previously mentioned but are built to withstand the punishment that can be delivered within a “field” operation.
Why is Mobility important to your business?
There are many benefits to your business when using Mobile Devices. They include:
1. The complete elimination of paperwork from your day-to-day workflow processes. Rather than printing Work Orders or Delivery Tickets your system can generate an electronic version of the document and e-mail it directly to the appropriate people within your organization.
2. Electronic Signature Capture – Your customers can “sign for” your work directly on the face of the mobile device. The device captures the signature electronically and automatically stores it within your system.
3. Immediate Payment Processing – most mobile devices can be outfitted with a Credit Card scanning device. This means that payment for product/services rendered can be obtained within seconds of delivery.
4. Bar Code Scanning – again, many of the smart devices in use today support Bar Code Scanning. Use of this technology eliminates the need to enter data via keystroke thus eliminating the possibility of error when capturing information.
Think of the steps that you are going through today to accomplish the 4 items listed above along with the time delay you are currently experiencing to receive final payment from your customers and I think that you will agree that “Mobility” delivers some significant benefits to your business.
What should you look for in a Mobility Solution
First and foremost you should be looking for the business functions that can be performed on a mobile device. Mobile devices are not a replacement for your desktop/laptop computers that are being used by people that are performing a significant amount of data entry into your system. Mobile devices are a replacement for the paperwork that is being processed by people within your organization that are typically working away from a desk.
Next, try to avoid Mobile solutions that are tied to a specific mobile device. The technology is available to deliver mobile functionality that is not dependent upon a specific mobile device. We like to say that the solution should be “device independent.”
Finally, make sure that the Mobile Solution that you adopt works instantaneously with your business solution. Do not adopt a solution that must be “synchronized” with your system at the end of the day. Synchronization means that your available information becomes more and more out of date as the day progresses while introducing a point of failure at the end of each day. Don’t do it!