Companies want to improve productivity and profitability. Many are looking to empower their workers with information at the point of contact with the customer. That usually translates into a software solution operating on a mobile device. The mobile device part is the easy part — what about the software?
From 30,000 feet, I’ll give you three possible approaches to solving the mobile software issue:
Screen Mapping. Make the most of your existing host system by using a “screen mapping” technique to generate business transactions:
- Record the entire data entry process for selected transactions, including screen navigation from a central starting point (i.e. main menu). This recording will later be used to update the host system, as if the transaction were being manually keyed into the system by a user.
- Automatically generate scripts that duplicate the recorded data entry process and then, optionally, supplement it with error checking, validation logic, and even data translation logic (convert vendor barcode to internal SKU, etc).
- Develop your mobile and wireless data collection applications that can be directly linked to these scripts for updates in real-time, or collect and validate the data and hand off the data to a background process for transaction update into the host system.
Package Software. Many software companies claim to have “seamless mobile device integration” — buyer beware! — it rarely works as advertised. Make sure you test the software in your environment over an adequate period of time before you sign on the dotted line. Too often, the “seamless mobile device integration” is a warmed over version of the full screen version of the software.
Custom Mobile Software. Years ago, custom mobile software was an risky and expensive proposition. Not today. There are some excellent mobility development environments that can quickly get your business more productive through the benefits of mobile computing. The right mobility platform:
- Eliminates costly and time-consuming custom coding efforts
- Easily integrates to backend host systems
- Easily deploy mobile applications to multiple departments and/or in multiple languages
- Automatically supports mixed device environments (some workers using laptops while others use handhelds, etc); build your mobile application once and it will work on all devices. This means you have only a single code-base to support even in mixed device environments.
- Manages all devices in the field from a single screen
- Post data directly to the web for review by workers, customers, etc
- Provides advanced security features
If the software solution is stopping your company from empowering your mobile workforce, do your business a favor and call us. The call is free. The solution could be priceless.