12 Tips For Mobile Field Force Deployments

By  Susan Nunziata — September 10, 2009

We asked Igor Glubochansky, Director, Industry Solutions, Mobility Product Management from AT&T Business Solutions, Tim Donahue, VP Marketing & Base Management from Sprint Nextel, and Michael Brander, Associate Director for the Enterprise Data Team at Verizon Wireless to give us their top tips and advice on the subject.

Here are their collective recommendations:

  1. Build your case for field mobility by focusing on how it can reduce your overall cost of doing business. It's not just about what a device or network can do, but whether it can help you accomplish what you need to from a business perspective.
  2. Understand your organization's needs. Do your field workers need access to applications anywhere and anytime? Do they need session persistence while travelling at high speeds?
  3. Don't try to cure all your problems at once. Look for a solution that can accomplish the five or six functions you really need and will give you the greatest ROI with the least amount of pain.
  4. Are your wireless connections being made at a high enough speed that workers aren't losing productivity while they wait for screens to load?
  5. Does the solution you're considering offer the best opportunities for workforce collaboration through the simultaneous use of voice and data services?
  6. Keep the core data applications simple and make sure that your processes also make the most of all of your wireless device's communication capabilities, whether it's direct-connect, voice calling, or text message.
  7. Get help understanding your Total Cost of Ownership. Examine the real costs, as well as the hidden benefits you may not be realizing from your mobility solution. For example, understand the level of care and support calls your IT department will receive at the beginning of a deployment, as well as over the long term.
  8. Beware obsolescence. For example, spend the extra bucks to buy a dual-mode data card that can accommodate 3G and 4G.
  9. Consider how LBS and GPS services can benefit your field workforce, as well as your supervision of them.
  10. Set expectations and requirements up front and avoid making numerous incremental changes after deployment. Doing so may disorient and discourage workers.
  11. Make sure you're engaging the workers who are going to be using the solution every day and get their input from the start.
  12. As mobile data bandwidth increases, consider how video can play a role in your future wireless business applications and processes for field workers.
For more, see our accompanying articles on how Ohio's Allen County Sheriff's Office and Milwaukee-based Bell Ambulance are incorporating mobile VPNs into their mission-critical field applications.


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