Welcome to the latest edition of MobileTime, a blog about the issues affecting mobile time tracking and the construction industry in general. Our goal for this blog is to provide useful, helpful information presented in a concise format to our customers and all others who might benefit. Today's article discusses the factors involved in adopting mobile technology for the enterprise.
Only in the last few years has enterprise mobile technology finally begun to tap the vast potential that had been promised for so many years. In its formative stages, the underlying technology infrastructure was still fairly immature and often failed to deliver on the expected benefits. At the same time, enterprises were unable to embrace mobile technology for a variety of reasons including inadequate business processes, human resources, leadership, and organizational cultures that failed to recognize the potential benefits.
This emergence of mobile technology within the enterprise has resulted in a paradigm shift of how business is conducted now and in the future. Business professionals, mobile workers, and field staff can now remain as productive outside the office as they are within the office. But what are the factors that must be taken into consideration prior to implementing mobile technology for the enterprise? The following is a list of some of the considerations that should be addressed:
What devices are best suited for the day-to-day operations of the targeted users?
What will be the primary determining factor for deciding on devices?
- Input method
- Screen size
- Processing speed
What technology platforms should be considered?
- Apple iOS,
- Windows Mobile
- Windows OS
- Apple OS
What will be the interoperability, or the ability to run on multiple devices/platforms?
What are the enterprise security considerations?
- Where is the data stored? On the device or held by 3rd party?
- Will authentication be seamless? – user names and passwords
- How will data be protected on lost or stolen devices
- Can the business ensure information security in mobile devices if they are used for both business and personal matters?
What are the cost considerations?
- Cost of devices and accessories including repair, replacement, and insurance
- Cost of training
- Cost of mobile data plans
The world of enterprise mobile technology has steadily evolved in the last few years. Devices continue to become more powerful and functional, wireless networks are becoming increasingly ubiquitous and capable of handling higher data throughput, and value-added mobile applications are emerging in increasing numbers. Those companies who are taking advantage of this situation will enjoy the resulting benefits: better efficiencies, cost savings, and new competitive advantages.
Regardless of the approach taken, this is an exciting time for enterprise tools. Is your company ready for the Mobile Revolution?
Welcome to the latest edition of MobileTime, a blog about the issues affecting mobile time tracking and the construction industry in general. Our goal for this blog is to provide useful, helpful information presented in a concise format to our customers and all others who might benefit. Today's article will feature select news topics affecting the construction industry as a whole.
Reconstruction Lifts Economy After Disasters – 5/31/11
Tornadoes and floods have devastated much of the South and Midwest but as many of the affected businesses and residents deal with the aftermath, economic activity is on the rise led by reconstruction.
No End In Sight To Construction's Woes – 6/6/11
"The construction industry will continue to experience double-digit unemployment rates for a long time," says Ken Simonson, chief economist for Associated General Contractors of America.
Man vs. Machine – 6/10/11
Spending on equipment and software has risen 25.6 percent in the last seven quarters compared to a meager 2.2 percent increase in aggregate spending on employees.
How to fix crumbling U.S. roads, rails and airways – 6/17/11
In the face of a shaky economy, declining tax revenues and public sentiment for spending cuts lies a public infrastructure urgently in need of significant upgrades.
Senators move first on transport bill – 6/3/11
Leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee have agreed on a framework for a $339.2-billion highway-transit measure that could span up to six years but will the supporting revenues be sufficient?
Which Niches Will Offer Riches in 2011 and Beyond? – 6/15/11
As the construction industry as a whole continues to flounder, 2011 may be the year of the specialty contractor due to several promising niches
Not that many years ago, companies with field employees were limited to tracking time using paper timesheets. The first time clock was actually invented on November 20, 1888, but in most cases, stationary time clocks are not a good fit for the construction industry. Then along came laptop computers equipped with Lotus 123, Microsoft Excel , or other similar products that allowed the user to enter labor hours in spreadsheets which could be then submitted to the payroll staff in the office. By the end of the 20th century, digital remote devices were being introduced into the field as part of the first line of mobile time tracking systems.
Today, construction companies have a plethora of choices when it comes to remote time tracking. Most of these choices can be narrowed down into 2 groups – mobile applications and web applications. The thrust of today’s blog is to discuss three important items that should be given serious consideration before making your choice.Internet Connection Availability
This is probably your most important factor to consider. Web apps need a stable, constant Internet conection. If you have jobs in isolated areas where connectivity is spotty or unavailable altogether, a web application is not an appropriate solution. Native mobile applications reside on the device along with any associated database infrastructure so the user can continue to run the program when no connection is available. These apps only need a connection during the sync process.Processing Speed
Because the program’s database doesn’t reside on the device when a web app is used, all data must be retrieved over the web from the host server and transmitted back to the device. The speed of these transactions can be affected by data transport time, any network latency, and the processing time on the device. Obviously, desktops, laptops, tablets, and even netbooks will have much faster device processing times that can significantly narrow the gap with processing times for native mobile applications.Installation and Upgrades
Web apps, especially for larger companies, do not require any long and involved “roll-out” deployment procedures. The only thing required is a compatible web browser. And an even bigger advantage is no requirement for performing periodic software updates. All new features are implemented on the server and automatically delivered to the users
Application usage on mobile devices has exploded due to the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablet devices like the iPad, along with near ubiquitous network connectivity. Still, the factors discussed must be carefully taken into consideration before making your decision.
It is common knowledge that mobile time tracking software can improve the productivity and profitability of construction companies in many situations. The contractor must first compare the estimated savings of both time and money with the purchase and operating cost of the new software. Once a positive determination has been made, and the software has been purchased along with any associated hardware and periphery supplies and equipment, then the real work begins – installing the software and getting your employees to use it.
Resistance to change among us homo sapiens is apparently the way we come out of the box. Some of us may be more inherently flexible in our philosophical outlook than others, but we all have some basic level of desire to maintain the status quo, or in other words, to stay in our cozy little comfort zones. The more deeply entrenched we are, the more we resist.
What are the primary causes of employee resistance? There are many, some related to the individual and others more associated with the organization.Individuals
- Control – people do not like to be controlled. They don’t like to be told what to do. We think we know how to do our jobs, and we really don’t want somebody telling us how to do it better.
- Motivation – what’s in it for me? Is the technology easy to learn and use? Will it make me better at my job, or at a minimum, make my job easier
○ Have we included a wide enough representation of the organizational structure in the decision-making process to secure a company-wide “buy-in”?
○ Have we kept the affected employees abreast of all the pending changes?
○ Have we explained well enough, the benefits that will accrue to the affected employees?
- Training and technical support
○ Have we made sure that an adequate amount of time has been allocated for training, and that the training will be done in an environment where the trainees will be relaxed and uninterrupted?
○ Is there adequate support staff available to consult with the trainees as they practice with the system and once they begin to use it?
○ Have we insured that all supervisory staff are well-trained and very knowledgeable of the system?
○ Have we identified “product champions” who are likely to enthusiastically endorse the new software and promote it to others?
Most of the information system implementations that fail are not the victims of flawed technology, but rather of organizational and people-related issues. Communicating the company’s vision for the future is critical in enlisting support for the implementation of new technology. Company leadership should set a good example by becoming actively involved in every implementation. Making workers feel comfortable with their new tools will go a long way toward the successful adoption of new IT.
Have you done your homework?