Challenges IT organizations face as they attempt to manage growing field service mobility initiatives
Interview with Mike Anderson, VP Operations, Enterprise Mobile
Mike Anderson, VP Operations, Enterprise Mobile
What challenges do IT organizations face as they attempt to manage growing field service mobility initiatives?
Management of the rugged devices used by technicians and other employees who work in the field requires careful attention to a range of activities. IT needs to devote sufficient resources and time to all phases of a mobility initiative – including initial device procurement and activation of the carrier service support, replacement/repair, ongoing management and recycling. Companies that have outfitted their field service personnel with handheld devices have gained some valuable knowledge from the experience, but as mobility deployments grow, the demands on IT resources can get out of hand.
For larger initiatives, of hundreds or even thousands of mobile devices, IT staffs need to allocate trained personnel and sufficient time to doing whatever is needed to keep the mobile workforce up and running. To avoid user downtime they must put together the right mix of resources to address the entire device lifecycle – managing and supporting a large portfolio of mobile devices and fixing the ones that break or replacing those that get lost or stolen.
What is an example of a particularly important task that can easily be overlooked?
Because mobile devices are dispersed across all the geographies where a company does business, tracking becomes especially critical. Tracking individual assets by serial number and keeping up-to-date records on mobile equipment is a time-consuming chore, but it can prove very valuable. Serial numbers can help IT to verify warranty status, for instance, or configure a replacement device with the right user settings and applications.
How are IT organizations gearing up for growth in field service mobility initiatives?
Many IT organizations are overextended – as the result of staff and budget cuts. Likewise, most lack the mobility experience and skilled resources needed to build and carry out a comprehensive mobility strategy for an enterprise. Nevertheless, companies are pulling together a mix of internal and external expertise to ensure that field personnel avoid serious downtime.
They start by assessing IT’s ability to manage mobility internally, then seeking outside expertise for those activities that can be performed more cost effectively by firms whose core competency is mobility. To do that, companies weigh the costs of hiring and training staff to manage all the activities a mobility initiative requires with alternative approaches. Once they know what their staff can realistically handle, they can complement their internal capabilities with focused mobility expertise – and the latest best practices and knowledge of the mobility infrastructure and vendor ecosystem.