The capabilities of today’s smartphones and tablets are astonishing when you stop and think about them. In fact, today’s mobile devices have ushered in a new phenomenon in the workplace; the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement.
Essentially, BYOD is the popular trend of employees bringing their personal devices to the workplace, to perform tasks on their preferred smartphones or tablets rather than on work devices. The trend began gaining workplace traction with the release of the iPhone, and continues to be a strong employee preference.
1. BYOD – threat or opportunity?
The first thing that business executives must realize is that employees aren’t going to stop bringing their personal devices to work. IT departments shouldn’t view BYOD as a threat, but rather as an opportunity.
Businesses can benefit greatly from BYOD in a variety of ways.
First, BYOD immediately cuts down on the maintenance and support costs associated with company devices. Employees are bringing sophisticated smartphones and tablets to work and are already proficient on their own devices. Thus, less training and support bandwidth required. And, obviously, BYOD also means a significant reduction in company device purchasing.
Next, employees practicing BYOD have their devices with them nearly 24/7. As a result, they’re virtually always plugged-in and reachable, leading to higher worker and company productivity.
2. BYOD Business Apps must be carrier and device agnostic
Let’s say a business decides to embrace BYOD. Great. Now what? They have 100 employees who are all using their own smartphones and tablets for work tasks, with different types of devices, operating systems and wireless carriers.
How does he keep them all on the same page?
The answer is to deploy business App solutions that are smart and powerful, and that are also device and carrier agnostic. ProntoForms is an application that works with multiple mobile device operating systems, making it easy to deploy within organizations practicing BYOD.
With ProntoForms, you build the workflow and forms once, to work on all networks and devices. There’s no need to create custom workflows for different devices types (such as for smartphones or tablets). All ProntoForms mobile forms automatically adjust to the device screen size and capabilities.
Whether it’s an iOS, Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone mobile device operating system, workers can still collect, receive and submit data in real time.
Unlike rudimentary consumer Apps, the robust ProntoForms portal allows companies to better stay on top of everything happening out in the field.
In addition to mobile form features such as signature, photo and barcode captures, as well as credit card processing and access to back office data tables, ProntoForms mobile forms also have the ability to generate geo and time stamps. Simply put, these form stamps deliver irrefutable proof-of-delivery or proof-of-work details to management, providing invaluable reporting data.
3. Harness BYOD with the right admin portal
Taking the example a step further, the ProntoForms mobile form solution can also help company IT departments reign in mobile workers and keep them on point. This is accomplished with the ProntoForms Web Management Portal, an online platform that helps decision-makers institute and manage a precise and efficient mobile business process – right from the office.
The ProntoForms Web Management Portal allows management to:
- Build and customize unlimited forms
- Set user preferences and settings
- Monitor all field activity
- Export data and schedule automated reporting
Furthermore, if certain workflow tasks have specific compliance requirements, this sophisticated ProntoForms platform allows management to track which device is being used in the field by which worker.
4. Connect BYOD data to the office or to the cloud
BYODs are now able to perform all of these smart tasks – but where does the data go and how can the field worker easily direct it to different locations?
ProntoForms connects to a secure server or cloud service, without requiring the field user to adjust settings or manually direct the data record (or form).
Moreover, since many businesses utilize a cloud service to store, share and collaborate, the ProntoForms solution is all-the-more ideal since it can send collected data to popular destinations like SharePoint, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and more.
ProntoForms connectivity goes both ways. Data in the office can also be made available in the field. For example, an on-site service technician may need to access the most up-to-date price list. A pricing table updated in the cloud can automatically update forms in the field, regardless of the type of smartphone or tablet the employee is using
Finally, custom connectivity can also be automated with the ProntoForms REST API. Through a simple integration process, the REST API can provide businesses with a convenient way to schedule and connect data between the back office system and the field. For example, automating daily job dispatching for field workers helps to ensure speedier and more efficient business in the field.
An organization that champions the BYOD phenomenon is an organization that empowers its staff – while at the same time improving business processes without giving up control. The ProntoForms mobile business solution is the ideal BYOD business tool to raise efficiency and productivity, at the same time allowing companies to set the rules.
If a business is still dissuading employees from using their own devices for work related activities, they’re missing out on a golden opportunity of increased productivity.
Mark Scott is the VP of Marketing for the ProntoForms mobile form solution.
Got an opinion or a suggestion? Email blog@prontoForms.com.