The lifecycle of a mobile project

Julie Purves, Managing Director of B2M Solutions gives her top tips on how to get the most from your mobile solution across all stages of a mobile project lifecycleA continuous improvement approach in a mobile project is the key to maximising profitability from your investment. This is particularly important for local authorities and public sector bodies where front-line staff deliver vital services to the public such as in healthcare and law enforcement.  
These highly complex mobile systems are now becoming even more multifaceted as the trend is to deliver multiple services at the point of contact with the public. In these situations, an increasing number of mobile workers will need access to mission critical data and therefore the mobile workflow and supporting infrastructure must be robust.
Since no two organisations are alike, an iterative and scalable approach must be taken. So whatever stage your mobile project is at – whether planning and selection, deployment, ongoing management, measurement and analysis or optimisation – a strategy that encompasses a Mobile Project Lifecycle approach will enable you to add value to your services on an ongoing basis and provide for continuous improvement at every stage of the mobile project. The mobile lifecycle has five distinct phases with a number of key attributes at each stage:

The planning phase of a mobile project is often concerned with the selection of devices, applications and networks. At this stage, a lifecycle approach will focus attention on both current and future requirements. For example, a future-proofed solution must provide for an ever increasing population of devices with diverse models from multiple manufacturers running multiple software applications.  
The main priority at this stage is that the concept of a project must be proved. This means you need to measure and compare performance of items such as device battery life, network coverage, application failures and level of helpdesk support required.  Achieving the correct combination of device, application and suppliers, before mass deployment, will mean less ‘pain’ during deployment and lower ongoing support costs.

The more efficiently and reliably a device population is rolled out, the quicker the department will benefit from a mobile project.  
Rollouts need to be staged to ensure minimum disruption to your operations even if they include large scale deployments to multiple locations. Tools are now available for secure and efficient device commissioning and rollout, giving you granular control over all aspects of deployment. Alerts and monitors, delivered via RSS or Atom feeds, will enable deployments to be closely monitored without interrupting other important work.

The management stage of the mobile lifecycle is where helpdesk tools come to the fore. A helpdesk armed with pro-active alerts and monitors can identify problems in the field and then deliver full remote management including problem diagnosis and resolution.
It’s at this stage that you need to maximise the operational efficiency of the mobile project and therefore minimise ongoing costs. You need to know that your front-line staff are working as efficiently as possible and be confident that the mobile devices they rely on are performing optimally.
Once the mobile deployment is running smoothly and efficiently, significant performance gains can be made through the effective use of analytics and reporting systems.
Tools can be applied to measure and analyse service levels to ensure they are aligned with both IT and departmental strategies. Sophisticated analytics and management reporting will enable you to review both macro and micro level views of the performance of a mobile enterprise such as device type, groups, locations, GPS co-ordinates, help desk statistics, suppliers, applications, networks, ROI, KPIs and performance against SLAs.

At regular points in the mobile project lifecycle, incremental business intelligence is required to identify best practice and ready the local authority for its next stage of growth. As an example, device utilisation charts can identify the time spent on certain tasks and the cost per user per hour tracked, or inefficiencies in the tasks highlighted.   The performance of suppliers can also be measured, analysed and evaluated to establish their conformance to SLAs.
The mobile market is developing at such a pace that new services are constantly emerging and these are often required to be delivered across wide territories. So when deploying a new solution, enhancing an existing project or embarking on a next generation deployment, a lifecycle management approach focused on continuous improvement will support maximising the immediate return as well as the reengineering of key processes.  
B2M Solutions specialises in managing the mobile enterprise – it’s modular and scalable mprodigy® software optimises the performance of the entire mobile project throughout the mobile lifecycle; maximising the productivity of the remote workforce and protecting the investment in a mobile estate.

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