How to plan a Mobile Enterprise Resource Planning network-part III
Howard Lee of Wirehead Technology discusses the importance of mobility planning in the final installment of a three part series
Howard Lee, CIO, Wirehead Technology
Last, but certainly not least, is training. To create a successful mobile system you and your staff will need training on how mobile devices work. Before you laugh and say ‘I don’t need someone to show me how to use my mobile device,’ if all you can do is email and use your address book, then you need training.
In the ten years I have been around businesses I have seen desks full of mobile devices that have been underused simply because most end users don’t know how to properly use them. So they take the devices to the IT staff to get help. The IT staff doesn’t want to know that you even have a device. They don’t want to support them because nothing is in place anyway. Plus, most IT staffs are not trained on how to support mobile devices. So now you have a ‘belt’ full of mobile devices that looks like Batman’s utility belt. The only difference is Batman knows how to use his devices and you don’t. Ok, you can laugh now! But consider this; not knowing how your mobile device works raises your TCO and time and money are unnecessarily wasted on device after device. If you believe ‘Maybe the new device will be easier than the old one,’ you are wrong. Mobile devices are getting more and more complicated as more features and memory are being added on each new version that comes out.
Look at it this way. If your teenagers came to you wanting to drive the family car, would you give it to them if they did not have any lesson on how to drive? No you would not. That’s what you are doing if you have an untrained person using a mobile device on your network. If you have invested time and money into a mobile network, your investment is wasted if your staff can’t use the mobile device to properly access your mobile network. Mobile training is just as important to the success of your mobile network as the applications and the mobile device you will use on that network. In fact, if you’re planning a mobile network, a report by Gartner Groups says that at least 12% of the budget should be for training. Basic training should include an overview of mobile devices.
There are differences between devices. For example, the way a Palm versus a Blackberry handles email. Palm uses ‘pull technology’, meaning you have to get your mail from Palm’s server while Blackberry uses ‘push technology’, meaning that when you turn it on it pushes all your email on the screen all the time. Mobile Windows, like all Microsoft products, works better with Outlook or Exchange email than either Palm or Blackberry email.
The on-board applications are all different in their look and feel on the device and the desktop. All of them have different ways they link to their desktops and servers. Now if your company is like most companies, your end users have not looked at the users’ manual. In some cases the manual is still in the box. Your end users are hoping that someone in your office will become the go-to guy about mobile devices. If there is someone in your office like that, then you just made him your unofficial mobile trainer. If he is on your sales staff, then you will lose productivity every time someone comes to him instead of the IT staff, asking questions about how to use their mobile device.
But you can turn that around by training all of your mobile users on how to use their devices. If all of them are trained on how to use their mobile devices, they can all be productive. That productivity is where your profit begins and ends. According to another study by Gartner Group, trained workers can increase profits by more than $2000 as opposed to untrained workers. Putting it in perspective, having a trained mobile staff is the best way to achieve ROI from your mobile network.
Now that we have gone over how to create a successful MERP network, your mandate is to research all you can about how mobility can help your company become more profitable. If you can’t do the research, hire a Mobile IT firm that can take you from A-Z on how to create a MERP network for your company.