Top Tips for Managing a Mobile IT Roll-Out

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Written by
Claire Harvey

Senior Manager European Project Management for Panasonic Mobile Business Solutions

Top Tips for Managing a Mobile IT Roll-Out

It’s one of those major IT projects that only comes around once every few years but refreshing your workforce’s mobile computing devices is a major challenge. It’s a challenge faced by organisations of all sizes from just a few hundred devices to thousands. But the good news is that you are not alone. Some device manufacturers have a wealth of experience in this area and can assist you every step of the way.

So, here are my top 5 tips to ensure things run as smoothly as possible during a mobile IT roll-out.

1. Consider the end-to-end solution

Look for a manufacturer with a project management team to provide the right level of support for your deployment whether dozens, hundreds or thousands of devices. These teams manage deployments every day of their working lives and have often previously seen and solved any issues you might face. They will work with you to consider the roll-out from nose-to-tail to ensure a smooth delivery. They will ask the necessary questions up front to test your thinking and help you structure, implement and manage the deployment across your business.

2. It’s not all about the device

The device is of course the focal point, but for many roll-outs a suitable vehicle installation, for example, is critical to the success of the programme. It is important not to overlook other vital elements beyond the device that are integral to success. Will the devices need to be docked in different types of vehicles for example? Look for a manufacturer that can assist in helping you choose your in-vehicle docks and cradles. Some leading device manufacturers also have teams that can design specialist docks or fixings specific to your vehicles, carry out any necessary MIRA crash testing and also provide safety certification documents. This can save an immense amount of time, energy and cost for a business not familiar with these areas.

Your project manager will also consider any additional peripherals your solution involves, such as extra battery packs, power units, handles and hand straps. They will ensure that these elements are packaged and delivered alongside the main units, to the specified address, and in line with the timelines agreed.

3. Establish a transparent timeline

On the subject of timelines, in addition to the above elements, vehicle installation plans and any potential training time required should be captured in a transparent project timeline. This is important to help both businesses understand the timelines so they know exactly when the devices will be delivered and how quickly the workforce will be able to use them. 

4. Work with experts to manage the roll-out

Consider exactly how much of the project roll-out you need to manage and what could be better managed by external experts. For example, do you want the devices shipped to your IT Department where they will be configured for use or would it be preferable to provide the device manufacturer with a master Android or Windows image that can be loaded onto the device and shipped to the user directly to work straight out of the box?

When equipping fleets of vehicles with docking stations, the device manufacturer’s project management teams can help train your own installation team or recommend specialist installation partners. Alternatively, they can take all the pain away and manage the installation programme for you by co-ordinating all parties.

5. Consider future maintenance and development.

Lastly, the responsibility for the roll-out doesn’t end when the last device is delivered to the workforce. How to maintain, repair and supply replacement devices is a key consideration. When a mobile worker is without their device, productivity plummets and costs the business every hour that it is out of operation. Consider what level of support you require in this area. For example, will you want your supplier to hold a level of replacement devices for you - ready to ship straight to a mobile worker when required? Ask your mobile device project manager what level of service they can provide in this area and what delivery time guarantees they can commit to.

So, for those of you facing a major mobile IT roll-out remember, you are not alone! Remember to call on your device supplier to offer you some of their expert assistance in the roll-out as well as the device choice.

Read about the full range of professional services offered by Panasonic that our dedicated project managers can support.

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