This is always a difficult question. How can you know what you don't know. Well I guess the answer is you find someone who has been there and done that and learn from them.
This blog article is a good starting point. It identifies 51 questions the helpdesk team will want to have answered before large mobile software deployments.
Let me highlight a few of the questions you will want to have answered:
- Do you anticipate only needing one specific mobile software application, or many mobile applications over time? Can you start with a mobile software platform that supports all of your mobile needs, or will each mobile application be a separate IT project and use different technologies and infrastructures?
- Do you know your exact solution and data requirements in advance, or do you anticipate needing to edit and adjust your mobile application as you learn from your field experiences and users? This will impact both design and schedules.
- Do you have an in-house software development capability, budget and helpdesk infrastructure to enable you to customize your own mobile software application(s)?
- Do you want to contract your mobile software application design, development and deployment to an experienced mobility company, or build it internally?
- Will you be synchronizing your field data with one back-office database, or multiple database applications?
- Do you know how to integrate field data to your database applications? Do you have your own DBA that can do this?
- Mobile solutions are often used on laptops, Tablet PCs, Smart phones, PDAs, etc. Do you know your exact hardware requirements? Will you be supporting just one device, or all of the above?
- If your internal IT staff are developing your mobile solution, do they know how to do the following: support GPS, Barcodes, RFID, Digital Signatures, Digital Image integration, synchronize data across multiple databases, provide helpdesk tools to support large deployments, etc.
- Do you have an IT development team that is experienced in designing, developing and deploying mobile applications, or is this their very first mobility project. Can you afford the steep learning curve, time and money developing a mobile application in-house with no experience?
- Have you considered the support effort required to manage large mobile software deployments? Do you have software in place to manage this?
- The biggest challenge with complex mobile application development is to create the right data model for your mobile application before you start development. Often an appropriate data model for a simple mobile application, is not the appropriate data model once you start adding features in future versions.