Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Conjecture, Enterprise Mobility and Mobile Strategies

Conjecture and the Mobile
Work Force
The word "conjecture" seems the perfect word for companies that try to manage a mobile workforce without a real-time mobile strategy and/or mobile technologies.  What is the definition of conjecture?

Conjecture:  An opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information.

If an enterprise has a mobile workforce, deliveries or remote job sites it is imperative that they have real-time visibility into the location and status of their operations, resources and personnel.  Without real-time visibility they are managing through conjecture.  Managing with incomplete information although unavoidable at times, is not ideal.  Reducing the amount of conjecture is certainly the goal of any manager.

Many companies that have historically operated on an "estimate" (aka - conjecture) basis, have never been able to capture the value inherent in a real-time operation.  Managing an operation in real-time requires real-time visibility.  In my recent article on 4D Field Services I discuss the value of adding time to GPS location data.  When you have real-time data on both time and location, you can make real-time management decisions not using conjecture, but on real-time and complete data.

Companies seeking productivity gains, efficiencies, better customer service and cost reductions will benefit from reducing conjecture by deploying mobile solutions that enable their mobile workforces to exchange real-time data with management and business solutions.

Here are a few real life examples of "estimates/conjecture" vs. "real-time."  Many companies still plan their mobile workforce schedules based on estimated times and job codes.  These estimates are often used to schedule thousands of personnel.  However, like the saying goes, "The battle plan is thrown out at the first shot."  Suddenly, people are sick, there is heavy traffic, the customer is not at the job site, the permit was not issued, the parts did not arrive and equipment fails.

Real-time visibility and real-time data exchanges via mobile solutions enable you to react and solve problems that arise in real-time and to use complete or at least more complete data.  Managing a real-time enterprise is different.  It requires thinking about how business processes will be different when data is real-time.  It requires different management processes, styles and strategies.

I recorded a Video Comments last week on the subject of conjecture and the real-time enterprise that you may also find interesting.

Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile Industry Analyst, Consultant and SAP Mentor Volunteer
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.