Keeping Solutions Simple

By Stacey McCarthy, Metaworks Inc. — December 11, 2013

What is one of the biggest frustrations that businesses often feel when it comes to work that is done in the field? Is it the inability to know exactly how many hours are spent on a specific task or what they have accomplished? Is it inconsistent or incorrect call reports that are being collected and transmitted?
Perhaps it is the long hours spent building surveys, audits or projects and then having to assigning them to various teams. Maybe the lack of detailed reporting is resulting in customer complaints.
And what is the root cause of these frustrations? Most often it is that inaccurate,cumbersome or manual systems are being used, or in some cases, no system at all.
Over the last 10 years, however, developers have created many mobile data collection solutions that have been designed to replace the clipboard and address these frustrations. These solutions have ranged from a basic app that can be downloaded for free, to a full-fledged enterprise solutions often being utilized via tablets.
With the rapid evolution of devices, not only did field teams begin to get more comfortable with the new technology, they began demanding that mobile solutions do more. Developers then faced the challenge of designing solutions that addressed needs the users didn’t even know they had.
Unfortunately, the result was often an influx of more complicated systems that required a lot of training time, much trial and error, many headaches for IT, all resulting in frustration for end users. Mobile data collection was meant to make business practices better for organizations with a field team and reduce the pain they experienced, not cause more.
Stepping Back
A recent report published by Gartner Inc. titled “What’s Hot in CRM Applications in 2013” shows that businesses are now taking a step back. They are no longer willing to accept a cumbersome solution with a hefty training requirement.
Users are more interested in keeping it as simple as possible. It is about the shortest learning curve, the usability and capabilities of the solution itself, and if it can run on a devices that they already own.
Business owners are realizing that they are losing time and money if their teams aren’t willing to adopt a solution because it’s too complicated. Hours spent in training are hours that aren’t spent in the field.
The time has come to shift focus from bells and whistles, to functionality and usability of the solution. The true value and benefit of mobile technology comes from how often and easily it is being used.
If users are afraid of the technology or are frustrated by it, then the bottom line is that they won’t use it, and at the end of the day, that can make or break a business who has invested heavily in a mobile technology solution.
Organizations must ensure that they have their priorities straight when choosing the best solution for their business, and at the top of that priority list must come the end user.


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