They require the seamless integration of a number of technologies including; mobile computers, wireless networks, software applications, web servers and global positioning systems to name a few and when one of these systems fails the entire solution is affected.
In order to ensure successful implementation of mobile systems, it is important to focus on four key areas:
Define the problem and its solution.
The problem is determined by understanding the business needs and the problems that need solved. Meet with key stakeholders from many lines of business, including managers, users, finance professionals, information technology staff, executive sponsors, etc. From these meetings, document the business issues, opportunities and success measurements along with ROI requirements.To find the solution, ideas and alternatives should be researched and reviewed, and then by working with the stakeholders, you can select the solution that best meets the business needs and ROI requirements. Once the final solution is selected, document the process and plans, and provide a financial and effort budget.
Typically this is the longest segment of the project. However, ensuring that the development phase is thorough can reduce the need to extend the project phase as a result of change orders from unidentified requirements or bugs.
Assign a project manager. As a general rule, project managers for mobile development efforts should have experience not only with mobile technology but also with both software and hardware as they are dependent on one another.
This phase also includes application development, system integration and quality assurance, which will be communicated and led by your trusted project manager.
As stated earlier, mobile systems require the seamless integration of a number of different technologies, and one cannot assume that each piece of the solution will behave well with one another. Plan for extra time to work out the bugs.
“In our experience the integration and testing phase is one of the most important aspects of the development phase and often underappreciated especially when combining multiple systems.”
The deployment phase is where things really start happening and there is a ton of activity. Here is where all of the pieces come together. In this phase, hardware is being ordered, staged and kitted, while installation teams are actively installing equipment at all your locations and users are being trained.
This phase has the greatest opportunity for error, simply because there are so many more individuals involved and each event is dependent on the previous step. Once again, a project manager who is experienced working with multiple parties and juggling many activities is critical to the overall success of these mobile systems.
This is where the customer starts using the system/product and begins to benefit from the productivity and accuracy that the solution was designed to achieve.
Like all computing systems, mobile systems must be supported and maintained. Operating system and application updates will be required over time, hardware will need to be repaired and replaced, interface modifications will be required due to changes in supporting systems and new users will need training and support.
For this reason, well thought out mobile systems will have identified these needs in the design phase and will have that future development worked into the plans. Some of these support systems include device management, express hardware replacement programs, technical support services, continued monitoring, and reporting to evaluate the systems overall performance against the original goals and metrics.