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Pilot Project

Perhaps the easiest and safest way to approach your first mobile application is through a pilot project. The pilot should have a fairly simple workflow and take advantage of location and preferably time. This project should be carried out with a subset of mobile workers. If possible, select those employees who are "early adopters" and are eager to make this work. Even though this is only a pilot, there should be a clear business case for the process changes—ideally, you will extend the scope of the pilot once it has proved successful. When making a business case, consider areas such as improved mobile worker productivity and reduced need for data re-entry. These will be balanced against device, software, and possibly network costs.

As with any project, you should be aware upfront of the costs, benefits, and major technical and human problems you may encounter. Set realistic goals for the pilot project. It will be necessary to establish a baseline from your current non-automated workflow, and measure improvements in such areas as productivity, efficiency, data accuracy, and employee satisfaction that result from the pilot project. It is also important to identify and plan for risks. These include technical risks such as network coverage and performance, human/machine interface issues, and application performance. You may also want to anticipate human and organizational risks including employee resistance to changing an established process.

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