As an experienced technology executive, IT professional, or project manager, you have, no doubt, successfully deployed software applications and hardware upgrades numerous times. So deploying a Tablet PC solution should be no different, right?
Not exactly. But, don’t worry. We are here to help. Follow the steps below and you will be well on your way to success.
1. Change Your Mindset
The first thing you need to do is change your mindset. It’s not about getting the tablet into the hands of the mobile workers. It’s about enabling and/or streamlining the mobile workflow. This is a vital shift in thinking that drives all the steps below. Throughout deployment, continue to ask yourself “what does the mobile worker require to complete their workflows as efficiently and productively as possible? “
2. A Comprehensive Workflow Analysis.
Once you decide to focus on the workflow – it is time to take a deep dive into the workflow. Taking the time to perform this analysis is essential to end-user adoption and overall success. By understanding the workflows you are automating, you will be able to identify before deployment if your current wireless network will support the required connectivity, what integrated capabilities the tablet should feature, what software and applications are needed and what accessories would further enhance mobility.
For example, EMTs need to be hands-free so a carry case is required. Some users will not be able to recharge their tablets during the day therefore an extra battery is necessary. In a healthcare environment the proper positioning of the desktop dock is vital to address. Insurance workers rely heavily on photos, so an intuitive, image capture and documentation software is essential.
3. A Pilot Deployment
A pilot deployment will minimize your go live or deployment risks. First, identify a pilot group and set their expectations. Next, ensure that you have successfully built and tested your image. Most of our enterprise customers use the Motion base image and then layer their applications and components on top and test at every stage. Then, determine if all the integrated features are configured and operating properly. Is the barcode scanner configured properly? If you are using a vehicle mount have you collaborated with the installer to ensure that the dock will be powered properly? Do all your users know that change is on the way?
If you are transitioning from paper to tablet it is critical that users are aware that their workflow will be changing dramatically. Identify super users and provide them with a demo of the new mobile device, software and accessories. Have them spread the word that positive change is coming. You may even have to schedule basic computer use training prior to the deployment. The training of your pilot group will be the foundation for the deployment training of end users and support group. Based on the results of your pilot you can fine-tune the workflow, image, training and so forth.
4. A Deployment Strategy, Training Methodology and Support Path
Defining who will be deployed first and when is critical to success. If the deployment is across multiple locations or groups you may wish to stagger the deployment. When working out the training plan, do not make the mistake of training your users to be an expert at all the tablet features, software and accessories. Just train them how to use the solution to successfully perform their task. For example: a critical learning path for a code enforcement inspector is that they need to know how to access their application and use pen and touch to complete their inspection form. Make sure you identify a support and escalation path from the users to internal support and, if necessary, to the vendor’s support.
5. Post Deployment Evaluation & Modification
Evaluate the success of your deployment and ask yourself and your team if you need to tweak anything? Check in with the users. Are they having any issues? What about sustaining support for existing users and new employees? You may wish to start introducing additional tablet PC features into the workflow. For example using ink within Microsoft Office applications, or creating inked notes.
- A shift in mindset from Tablet to Workflow is the first and most essential step to successful deployment
- The findings from your pilot will directly influence your deployment
- A proper deployment strategy is critical
- Post deployment support and a training plan for new employees must be defined
Paul Russo is the Senior Global Deployment Manager at Motion Computing firstname.lastname@example.org