In this article we will look at your choices for mobile devices and how this can impact your software decisions.When choosing software to manage your field service team, the first hurdle you come across is device compatibility.
It’s inevitable that people on your team will be using different devices – some across various operating systems, some versions earlier or later than others, some on smartphones, others on tablets. If you operate a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, the range will be even more significant. How do you ensure compatibility and that the whole team runs smoothly with all the variation?
Building the new mobile workforce
According to a recent study by Wakefield Research and Citrix, workforces are becoming ever more mobile. Their results showed that 69% of office professionals regularly work remotely. The public sector is leading the way as the earliest adopter of flexible work environments.
According to an article at CIO, more than 70% of respondents planned to equip more than 1,000 users with mobile apps. A third were deploying apps to ‘more than 5,000 users in the next two years’.
Citrix’s own research demonstrated that, it won’t be long before one person will use an average of six devices to complete his/her work.
With so many different devices on the market and at work, you’re forgiven for raising concerns about compatibility. Your fear over unforeseen problems truly is justified.
Have you considered the Bring Your Own Device model?
Whether you use the BYOD model, or give employees the devices they need, there are several different types of devices you’ll see across your team.
The stationary computer that remains at a desk. Many companies are phasing these out for individuals. Instead, they are opting for laptops and monitors to provide greater flexibility. People who require a certain amount of processing power will still need to use a desktop.
These provide additional flexibility in and out of the office, because they can be easily taken to a meeting, and then back to the desk. The disadvantage of laptops for field teams is that many don’t match the way people prefer to work (touch screens, detachable keyboard, etc). Many also run desktop systems that don’t use apps.
Pretty much everyone has a smartphone these days, and across your team you’ll see a huge range of smartphone devices, with a variety of different specifications. Smartphones are essential devices for keeping field workers in touch with your office. They also help with the practicalities of getting work done. One example includes the maps and directions needed to get to a site.
Many users who need to enter data in the field prefer the larger size of a tablet screen. Tablets can also be equipped with detachable keyboards, which turn them into a laptop.
How do you choose what device to give to your team?
The short answer is that there may be more than one. Depending on the different tasks required by your organisation, each person should be given the devices that will allow them to work most effectively. Not everyone will need the same devices, and many people will require more than one, depending on their roles.
Choosing which devices to use relies on many factors. The best approach is to fit the device to the person and his or her work, instead
of expecting the person to adapt.
Factors to consider when making device-related decisions
- Mobility: What requirements does their role have for them being accessible from other sites around the city/country?
- vailability: Is your worker on-call, or expected to monitor calls or social media outside of work hours?
- Preferred ways of working: How do your team members prefer to work and collaborate?
- Hardware requirements: Does your employee require specialist hardware or capacity? For example, graphic designers, developers and analysts may have specific speed or capacity requirements.
- Accessibility: How do you cater for disabilities, injuries or other specific needs within your team? (For example, devices with superior voice-activation functionality for people with vision impairments.)
- Accessories: What might facilitate better working conditions? Think about docks, rugged cases for field devices, ergonomic stands for office work, speakers and/or cameras for field surveys.
Which system is superior? Web-based or app-based?
For a mobile workforce, cloud-based systems offer the most significant benefits. Information is stored in one central location that can be accessed from any phone or device with the internet. This means there’s no double entry, it’s always up-to-date, and there is always a single source of truth.
Cloud systems can be either web-based or app-based. As a web-based system built for adaptability, myFLO works across all devices and platforms. Systems that require apps will have more device-compatibility issues, because some apps aren’t built for certain systems (especially desktops/laptops; or iOS vs Android).
Knowing that you don’t have to worry about compatibility of MyFLO gives you a lot more freedom about how to decide on your ideal device policy.
We can help you decide
We have been helping organisations like yours to establish device plans almost since we began. If you have any questions or concerns, contact our experts today on 1300 78 46 60.