Trying to fix your business with mobile technology might be the worst decision you could make.
There is no doubt that mobile technology can revolutionize the way you run your business. But the actual motivation behind such a change will make all the difference in how your company (and boss) adopt the changes. Let’s face it, a lot of companies out there will sell you something without forcing you to have what I call, a gut-check.
But taking the time to evaluate the reasoning behind such a change, could be the most helpful conversation you have. Without this critical step, no amount of mobile software will help. If you are seriously condsidering adding or updating a mobile software solution for your delivery, manufacturing or asset tracking business, think through the following pitfalls.
(1) You Want To, But Don’t Have To
When there is no mandate to put in place a mobility project, there is no driving force to make any real change. Eventually, it will become clear that this is a “want to” vs. “have to” scenario. When there is no cost justification, no demand for legal compliance, no contractual obligation to meet specific service level agreements, even the best technology will ultimately be seen as a nuisance. Changes without any sort of mandate ask, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have this?” instead of affirming, “We must find a way to achieve this.”
(2) Your ROI Is Not Clearly Defined
Going into the project with no clear definition of success is a recipe for trouble. When there is nothing that clearly declares “we need to improve productivity by 10%”, or “we need to cut operational costs by $4,500 a month,” or “we must respond to customer requests within 30 minutes,” there will be no tangible sense of accomplishment. Without these clear, objective definitions of success, any sort of upfront cost in time or money will not be seen as an investment, but as fees. And fees are reluctantly paid and eventually abandoned, while investments are gladly paid in anticipation of planned returns.
(3) You Have No Deadlines
Without a deadline, there is no urgency. Without urgency, there is no necessity. Without necessity, there is only “nicety.” And niceties are just that: things that would be nice to have, maybe, at some point, once we get done with this other project. Without any sort of deadline, requirements meetings are drawn out, pre-production training is pushed out, and a general hesitancy to go live sets in. Suddenly, the project everyone was once excited about becomes a lead weight. But by clearly defining and communicating hard deadlines, a mobility solution has solid anchor points that keep it from floating away into oblivion.
(4) Your Operations People Are Not Involved
When the influencers and decision-makers are not directly working with the operations team, there is a massive disconnect in expectations and a murky understanding of actual needs. Your operations team has a critical voice in providing feedback and exposing the real pain points that must direct requirements calls and contribute to the tailoring of mobile workflows.
For example, let’s say a last mile delivery company wants to roll out a new mobile solution. Without the operations team at the table, how will the specific workflows around line item validation be determined? How will the custom business rules for items or stops be defined? They won’t. Without answering these sort of critical operational questions, any sort of mobile software rollout will flounder.
(5) You are Unwilling To Invest The Time
Because a successful mobile deployment relies so heavily on operational workflows, it demands an investment of time on the front-end of a project as you evaluate your daily process. Any sort of unwillingness to roll up your sleeves and wade through the minutia of this work will eventually lead to an epidemic of company-wide headaches as misshapen technology is rolled out to the larger team. As the old adage goes, pay now or pay later. And paying time on the front-end is always the better investment than the time and extra money spent later.
(6) You Have Not Consulted The End User
Granted, this is related to number 4, but sometimes stating the obvious is just worth it. Working with operational team members is critical, but not consulting with the actual end-user is even worse. Assuming or even dictating how a mobile process should work without input from the actual mobile worker is the “ivory tower” approach to mobility and typically leads to a fumbled implementation and poor user adoption.
Learn from these mistakes. Flip them on their head. Turn each of these 6 scenarios around and, voilà! You are now the hero of your company. You are leading the charge for a mobile software solution that is a must-have, investment returning solution, driven along by actual deadlines and shaped up by the input of your mobile workers and beloved operational team. The company is saved, and you can feel your cape flapping gently in the breeze.