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Before discussing the mobile technology, let's explore the need for compliance monitoring in an enterprise.

One of the many challenges that companies have is managing a mobile workforce that is often working on remote and distant jobsites.  Many important parts of the business can be impacted by how the mobile workforce does their job while in these environments.  This article will discuss how mobile enterprise applications can help manage remote and mobile work forces.

Customer Service in Remote Locations

The experience the customer has with your company is directly determined by how they are treated by the company representative that they meet.  Often the onsite worker is the only face to face interaction the customer ever has with a person from your company.  The way the customer is treated and the services that are preformed can make all the difference between a good and bad experience and referral business.

Jobsite Safety

Often jobsites can be dangerous.  There may be safety issues and safety regulations that must be followed.  There are often specific processes that must be followed to reduce risks and to provide the safest working conditions possible for the workers and the people around the jobsite.

Legal Liabilities

There are also legal liability issues that must be consider.  If a jobsite is not properly prepared for safety and an accident happens, the company responsible for the work is in jeopardy of law suits.

Best Practices

It is often the case that companies train their employees to do what is consider best practices within their company and industry.  These best practices can be at the core of a company’s competitive advantage.  How does a manager ensure that best practices are being used in remote jobsites where there is no onsite supervision?  Best practices might be the difference between running a profitable operation and a unprofitable operation. 

Sales and Marketing

It has been proven many times that the trusted service technician that is standing in your kitchen helping you is a far better sales person that an unknown telephone sales person that calls at dinner time.  The on premise service technician has been invited into the home.  They are often technically competent and have experiences to share.  They are often perceived as knowledgeable experts in their field.  Customers are far more likely to purchase services and products from the person in their kitchen than a person on a phone.

I have personally purchased extended maintenance warranties from my own HVAC service man several times over the past few years.  They show me how I can save money and get better maintenance by being on the plan.  I trust the experience of my service technician.

Mobile Enterprise Applications

When companies first begin considering an enterprise strategy for mobility, they often do not consider the role and value “compliance” layers can play.  Even mobility vendors have not yet realized the true value.  For the most part enterprises are still thinking of mobile applications as a way to provide quick and mobile visibility to reports, notifications, approval processes, email messages and to replace paper forms.  These are all good features, but there is much more that can be accomplished with mobile enterprise applications than has often been considered.

Mobile enterprise applications and smartphones have the ability to record many details and business processes in remote locations and document and report compliance or non-compliance.  Here are a few of the ways smartphones can assist in these processes:

  • Date and time stamps
  • Before and after digital phones
  • Voice memos
  • Digital video
  • GPS tracking
  • Start and stop times
  • Length of time between documented tasks
  • Digital signatures
  • Mobile alerts to remind the mobile worker of specific tasks
  • Business process sequence monitoring (set up safety barriers around jobsite first, then photograph the safety barriers, before continuing on to the next task).
  • Confirm a task is completed and sign name
  • Ask customer to confirm a task is completed by providing a digital signature
  • Document events with photos, signatures, memos and confirmations, measurements (Bluetooth enable measurement equipment can feed data into mobile enterprise applications that can be used to document jobsite findings)

How might compliance layers look in a mobile enterprise application?  I think it would be useful to include the ability to develop various compliance features and save them in the repository of a mobile SDK (software development kit).  I would like to see a library of mobile applications that can be opened up and viewed with each screen, each data field, the business logic and business processes defined.  I would then like to see the ability to add a compliance layer.

It would be great to see these kinds of services/features in upcoming versions of SAP's Mobile SDK.