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Making your system mobile-friendly.

4 years ago
Rita K

The first question to ask is who in your organization is using a mobile device? Warehouse personnelManagement personnelSales team

What are they using it for?There are many different uses for mobile devices.  The warehouse staff might use their mobile devices to receive text instructions that direct activities.  The management team might want summary information on sales, shipments, etc.  The sales team might want to know what has been shipped and to whom.  The list of users and purposes will be different for every company.It is usually a mistake to assume that you know the answer to these questions. 

It is a useful and productive process to ask people in your company what they use mobile devices for currently, and what they would like to use them for in the future.There are legitimate data security issues, of course.  But, by finding out who is doing what and what they would like to do in the future you don’t commit yourself to exposing your data incautiously.  But you will create a user’s wish list worthy of serious consideration.  Security and other issues can be considered later, after the wish list has been created.What features ought to be built into your system design to optimize the utility for users of handheld devices?Clearly, one advantage is that each handheld device is used by one person.  Individualized information and instructions can be transmitted to warehouse staff.  Management and sales reports can be customized according to the needs of each individual user.  Queries can be customized so that a minimum of data entry is required to access specific information on particular customers, or products. These are decisions that must be made during the system design stage.  They are decisions that can only be made after determining what your employees currently do with their handheld devices and what they would like to be able to do in the future.  The best ideas often come from the people that are performing the activities every day. 

They can identify opportunities for efficiency improvement.  A few seconds of improved efficiency per employee, multiplied by your entire staff, will translate into big savings for your company.Handheld devices may not actually be held in anybody’s hand.  Truly hands-free devices may be voice activated and provide auditory information.  Does your operation require this capability?  If so, how can your system be designed to translate text to voice instructions, and how are those voice instructions integrated into the information maintained by your system?

Does your system facilitate different languages?  Regardless of how the information is received and distributed throughout your operation, it is useless unless it is understandable by the person with the mobile device.  Can your system translate information to Spanish?  Vietnamese?  What are your requirements?  How can this be planned into the system?How scalable is your system?  Does it have the capacity to communicate with an unlimited number of mobile devices?  The architecture of your system and the hardware (or cloud-based) infrastructure must be planned at the very earliest stages to ensure that the system can be scaled indefinitely in the future.Is your system “intelligent?”  Is there a functionality to adapt the system to the individual needs of the user?  Do changes to the information output require expensive and time-consuming interface with your software supplier?  Is you system designed so that your in-house IT personnel can adapt and modify the system to ensure that the output is configured to the optimal use by each employee with access to the system?  Does the warehouse worker need the same output as the CFO?

Have you designed output to give executives the key data needed to make business decisions and immediately spot trends?  Do your customers have access to the information they need to know?  Can your vendors view your inventory and usage levels so that they can help you anticipate supply requirements?  Do your sales and customer service personnel have the necessary information to be jealous customer advocates?  All of these requirements ought to be identified and planned before a system is selected, or designed.Some of these observations may seem unrelated to the topic of designing a mobile-friendly system.  They are not.  Each of the areas outlined above have unique and special requirements to be effectively used in a mobile device environment. 

The future is here.  Mobile devices will become more prevalent and effective.  Screen resolution and eyeglass monitor technology will offer us a whole new world of access to data unencumbered by the physical restraints of desktop technology.  Build your system to be optimally mobile-friendly today and as this technology inevitably arrives, the adaption to new and more powerful tools will be simplified and accelerated.We’re here to help you understand the opportunities and the potential pitfalls.We’re Avectous Integrated Software.Take Control.