Photo: Amos Tio, general manager, Toughbook Asia Group, Panasonic Systems Asia Pacific.
Work is no longer restricted within the office and with more employees presented with the necessity to work from remote locations and be more mobile, it is evident that the ground rules of work are changing. Research firm IDC estimates that 40 percent of employees in Asia Pacific will be mobile workers by 2015 with the majority of them being office workers.
With all the hype surrounding mobility, I've experienced similar questions from IT decision makers around the region on how they can take advantage of mobility programs to boost productivity, increase user satisfaction, while reducing their overall mobility spending.
At Panasonic, we've established some best practices to streamline the deployment process to ensure a smooth and positive rollout. Here are some practical handles for IT decision makers to consider as they make the transition to mobility.
Understand the needs and pain points of your mobile workers
Many times the business' IT department has its own agenda and goals for a new technology deployment. This is often driven by the need to streamline IT processes or capture additional data in the field as the result of a new corporate initiative. However, it's extremely important that you invest the time to understand the culture and needs of your workforce. This is a critical element of a successful deployment rollout.
We advise IT planning personnel to conduct ride-alongs with field teams or host focus groups in order to get a sense of the their day-to-day challenges and pain points. This allows you to observe redundancies and inefficiencies and collect feedback directly from the end-users. It also communicates to your workforce early on that you're interested in addressing its needs and helping make their jobs easier.
Initiate small pilot or trial programs
Once you understand the needs of your workforce and began evaluating solutions, initiate pilot programs to test different solutions in the field. A small pilot program with a select group of users can be valuable. They can get a feel of the workflow with the possible devices and communicate their feedback. Tracking key information, such as the number of repairs/service calls per day or turnaround times, during the pilot phase will help earn management and financial buy-in and acceptance from the larger team.
Select partners that offer ongoing support once the solution is deployed
Choose partners that will provide support and services once the technology is in the field. As with any new rollout, it will take time for the devices and associated software to be fully accepted and usable. Partners that provide on-site assistance and support after the initial purchase will significantly reduce the time your IT department spends training and assisting workers with technology transitions.
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