You want to create context for your users in the field. You recognize this is where true value is realized for the people doing the work and ultimately the business. Offline mode is a huge part of that equation. The next logical step is asking, "How do I make sure the mobile platform I choose will allow for contextual business processes while offline?" To help you navigate the "how" part of this equation, we have put together 3 critical questions you should ask of your current and potential mobile application platform vendors.
3 Critical Questions to Ask Mobile App Vendors
Are you able to provide all source data and reference materials to the end user based on their function and job task?
Source data can come from multiple back-office systems and file formats such as customer data, asset information, parts lists, billing information & billable rates, health and safety specifications as well as reference manuals or other reference materials. Ensuring that key information is available offline requires being able to centrally ingest and partition it based on job function and task, so the user doesn't see massive lists of data that is not relevant to them.
Can your mobile apps interact with each other, and move the user seamlessly between apps across task workflows and business processes?
Inter-app capabilities are paramount to creating a positive user experience, whether online or off. Evaluating in what order users are going to complete a series of tasks will help to determine when and where the handshake needs to happen. Inter-app interfaces provide a lightweight method for apps to work together, with less burden on app providers to integrate and maintain functionality.
Are you able to use source data to drive the user experience, and guide them through their required tasks intelligently?
Providing source data in a drop-down menu such as customer lists, asset information, and job task checklists is a good start, but true productivity gains come from creating end-to-end solutions that can handle real-world scenarios. These solutions incorporate not just data sources, but also rich data input from the user, conditional logic and other smart functionality that automatically prompt and reliably guide users through even complex tasks, and are much more likely to help you reach compliance.
Creating true context, whether online or off, takes time. 61% of workers report working outside the office at least part of the time, so creating a positive mobile work experience is critical to the forward momentum of the company. We know this might seem daunting, but by asking the right questions, you'll set yourself up for success long term. Start small, make a plan, and when you're ready, we're here to help.
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Bryna joined ProntoForms in 2017 as a Strategic Account Manager, with a focus on managing and developing key relationships with new and existing enterprise accounts. She is an experienced, enthusiastic, people oriented professional with a Business Administration-Marketing degree from St. Lawrence College. In her spare time, you can find Bryna enjoying the outdoors with her 2 boys and husband. She's an avid swimmer and enjoys hiking the many chartered and unchartered trails in the local area.