Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Downside of Mobile Applications

I had the fortunate opportunity to meet a classmate for coffee this week. I had not seen him for over a decade. He serves as a traffic cop and uses a TDS Recon mobile handheld computer in the course of his work writing tickets.

During our conversation we discussed the rugged laptop he had mounted in his unmarked police cruiser. He said it had many of their police forms and documents on it, but that the mobile software was not able to keep up with the required edits and changes needed on the forms. As a result, they had stopped using it for much of their documentation.

This discussion highlighted the need for a mobile workflow application that is a separate layer from the data layer. The field data collection requirements should be very simple to edit and not impact the field user. If the mobile application requires a complete update to edit data fields, then it risks early obsolescence or as in my earlier example it will simply not be used.

- Kevin Benedict,
Mobile Strategies Consultant, SAP EDI Expert and Technology Writer