Choosing a mobile device for your field service organisation [Part 3] - Are you ready?

 

Choosing a mobile device for your field service engineers is an important decision. Last week we looked at choosing an operating system, which followed on from a blog about choosing between smartphones and tablets. This week looks at three issues – budget, gaining employee buy-in, and making sure your organisation is ready for the introduction of new devices.

Budget

Budget is likely to be a primary consideration for many organisations, and it can certainly help to narrow the field from the outset. A limited budget, for example, means you can probably rule out the high-end devices straight away (such as the latest Apple iPhone/iPad or Samsung Galaxy range).

These days the mobile device market is intensely competitive. That’s a good thing for you, as it means there are devices for all budgets. Indeed, you can easily find many decent smartphones for under £100, although good tablets are usually a bit pricier.  Be careful, though – try not to be tempted to just buy the cheapest device available.  It may be better to think about the essential features you need first, and then look at price.  Also look at things like guarantees or warranties included in the purchase that could save you money further down the road if any of the devices malfunction.

If money is not object, then this discussion is largely irrelevant.  But the same advice mentioned above applies – don’t just opt for the most expensive device.  First, write a list of the essential features you need and then use that to find the devices that meet those needs.

Whether your budget is large or small, ultimately you’ll be looking to achieve a return on your investment.  So if possible, use this as the ultimate deciding factor when choosing between devices.  It may be the case that you pay a bit more than planned for the devices, but can expect a higher ROI as a result.  In this case, the extra expense would be justified.

Employee buy-in

Each of the points talked about in this blog series is important, but this one, especially, should remain at the front of your mind.  If possible, your field engineers should be involved in the decision-making process when choosing new devices.  After all, they will be using them daily and therefore should be on board with your choice.

By involving employees in the process, the chances are they’ll be much more willing to embrace new devices.  This will be vital if you want to really see the benefit they can bring.  If they’re not involved in the decision they may be reluctant to go along with the change, not to mention the fact they could feel undervalued and out of the loop.  This advice, in fact, should be taken on for any decision made in the business – the people it will affect the most should always be consulted.

Readiness for new hardware

The final point I would like to talk about is that of your organisation’s readiness for new devices.  You may view investing in the latest hardware as a sure-fire way to become more productive and efficient.  This may well be the case, but you need to ensure you are ready for such a change first.

By considering all of the points discussed in these blogs you should get a good idea of the effect buying new hardware could have. Getting the opinions of your employees will certainly play a large part in assessing how ready you are, too.  Here are some other questions to consider:

  • What experience does your field service team have with mobile technology?  If this is the first time you’re buying mobile devices, or if you haven’t changed devices for a few years, you may need to consider if training will be required.
  • Do you have a contingency plan in place in case of issues?  You may experience teething problems with new devices, so you should be prepared for this and able to continue operating effectively even if problems arise.
  • Do you have the resources required to support a transition?  For small companies, this could be someone internally who knows exactly how the devices work and who can provide support to other users. Larger companies may have an IT department who will manage the whole process. Either way, employees should be able to go to someone internally for support when new devices are introduced.

That concludes our three-part series on selecting a mobile device for your field service organisation.  Don’t forget to read part one and part two if you haven’t done so already:

Part one – Smartphone, tablet or phablet?

Part two – Which operating system?

If you’re investing in new mobile hardware, you may want to consider investing in software too.  Field service management software such as Oneserve’s solution, enables companies to reap the most benefits from both their mobile devices and field technicians by bringing together your people, processes and technology.

This includes eliminating inefficient paper-based and manual systems, instantly boosting business productivity.  Read more about our performance enhancing functionality, and request a demo to find out what we can do for your organisation today.