How to assess the gain of Tablets for the Mobile Workforce?

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Even though it might look so, it’s not necessarily true; and some questions about it must be revisited from time to time? So, how to assess the gain of Tablets for the Mobile Workforce?

I know, I know, you must think: « Come on, are you serious? ». In 2015?  But in fact, even though everybody has a mobile device today, it’s not crystal clear whether it’s really useful or even necessary.  More than often, and many have witnessed it, mobile devices are a source of distraction at work and the cause of errors, productivity loss, time loss, data loss, etc.

Well, let’s see it through…

How to assess the gain of Tablets for the Mobile Workforce?


Assess the necessity of using Tablets for the Mobile Workforce

Everybody wants a custom-made mobile device to work with, right? Still, one must assess the necessity first.  Some might say the usefulness.  And there lies an important hue which must stand at the very heart of your Business Case Analysis and alignment of your web mobile application design because this hue can cause many more months of development… thus, much increased budget and expenses than initially planned.

In short, one must be able to distinguish between “useful” and “necessary” and that is not always evident!

Which process and data one must NECESSARILY have access to when working in the field, to display on Tablets for the Mobile Workforce?

For this exercise, one must rely on the notion of gain. You must be able to identify which process and data are necessary to generate a gain; out there, on the road, in real time, with clients, in management mode, in sales mode, etc.

Here are different types of gains to look for, each as worthy as the other :

Productivity Gain

  • Increase the number of tasks performed on the road
  • Increase the speed of tasks performed on the road
  • Reduce worthless time (travel time on the road)

Decision-making Gain, in real time

  • Reduce Planning Time on the road
  • Improve Decision Quality in Client Meetings
  • Improve Decision Quality in Remote Management

Clientele Satisfaction Gain

  • Improvement of Information Quality supplied to Clients
  • Reducing Response Time to Clients’ requests
  • Improvement of overall Communications Quality with Clients

Sales Increase

  • Real-Time Inventory Access
  • Real-Time Calculus of profit margin, loyalty rebate, wholesale price, etc.
  • Real-Time Adaptation to Markets and Clients changes and circumstances

You must see these criteria as competitiveness indicators in the sense that if these functions (process and data) are available on the road (on Tablets), your Sales Force (Mobile Workforce) will have an advantage over competitors.

Likewise, you must realize that if, on the contrary, they are not available, your Mobile Workforce will suffer loss in terms of Sales, Clientele Satisfaction, time loss, lost opportunities, etc.

A gain assessment should outline those specific processes and data that have the most likelihood to produce an improvement, increase or enhancement on the road. In the light of this Gain vs Loss (competitiveness) analysis, you will be able to identify these functions and, the necessity or not to invest in Tablets for the Mobile Workforce, and integrating these business process and data… today!

A few concrete examples of data and process which look like necessary to generate gains:


  • Read / Write & Changes to entries
  • Client Geolocation (real time)
  • Calculus and optimization of optimal itinerary to meet clients
  • Display of Clients meeting selected criteria, within a specific radius from representative current location

Client List

  • Read only?
  • Write & Changes to Client entries
  • Access to Clients historical data
    • Sales
    • Previous Notes
    • Future and Past Activities
    • Cross Selling Opportunities

Estimate or Quotation “on the spot”

  • Dynamic Calculus of prices, margins, profits…


  • Items
  • Quantities
  • Current and future availability

Although it is not the topic of this post, of course, one must proceed as well with a Gain vs Development Cost for each of these functions (data and process) identified as necessary!


Which process and data one would consider USEFUL to have access to when working in the field, to display on Tablets for the Mobile Workforce?

What do we mean by useful, really?  The thing is that this notion’s meaning of usefulness varies enormously from one individual to another and it is based as much on objective than subjective factors. In short, it is a question of perception and to neglect it would be a big mistake because the value of « USEFULNESS » in the eye of end-users will weigh heavy in their decisions to accept the product (Tablet application) and actually use it!

The usefulness for the end-user (employee) will be based as much on HIS/HER perception of comfort and pleasure of usage as HIS/HER perception of Productivity and Clientele Satisfaction, for example.

Thus, at this stage, it is crucial to establish a transparent dialogue between designers and end-users to circumcise those details in terms of User Interface, Design & Functionalities that will turn your data and process mobilization project into a much appreciated and successful Web Application for Tablets, at all levels.



Project Acceptance

Although it might look like a simple formality, once the analysis is done and well documented (Business Case); many will tell you that a Project’s Acceptance is far from evident for multiple reasons among which Priority Management, Budgets and Markets fluctuations are not the least.

Hence, it’ll be as much NECESSARY as USEFUL to proceed carefully with Perception Management at all levels before finally presenting your mobilization project (web mobile application for Tablets) to the proper instances, that which will be the topic of a next post!

You must validate that everyby sees the usefulness and necessity of Tablets for the Mobile Workforce:

  • End-users are opened to the project?
  • End-users clearly see the advantages, benefits and constraints for them?
  • In general, the change is perceived positively and accepted as much by end-users than being supported by Top-Level Management?



Change Management

This final step has turned into a coffin for numerous mobilization projects in many companies and, should, will be the topic of numerous next posts.

Just remember, it is no small business…



Necessity and Utility are not “necessarily” incompatible and constitute solid and enlightening criteria when it comes to data and process mobilization! However, you should not especially neglect the perception of end-users… who always have the final word when it comes to their working tools.  As well, a thorough Gain vs Cost analysis of targeted features will often win you the approval of Top-Level Management.


Happy… Mobilization!

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