Customer satisfaction as a growth engine

Posted by Ashleigh Cipolla On November - 20 - 2014

It is often said that companies create jobs.  However, the fact is that consumers not companies create jobs.  It is only through consumption that the products and services that businesses create can multiple and with product and service multiplication comes job growth.  This is the reason behind DecisionPoint Systems culture tenant “We obsess over customers, not suppliers, competitors or ourselves”.

However, customer satisfaction is not just great products and services but rather the embodiment of all the experiences a customer has with a given company.  From how you answer the phone and respond to email to how long it takes to provide a quote or process an order.  It even includes the daily attitude of every employee the customer interacts with.  Ensuring great customer satisfaction is everyone’s responsibility and everyone needs to bring their “A” game every day if you want to see your company grow and have more jobs created in the process.

Is Mobile Device Management (MDM) still needed?

Posted by Ashleigh Cipolla On November - 11 - 2014

 

For the last several years the topic of MDM has filled blog posts and news articles.  With all the enhancements to operating systems and hardware platforms, I often here the following question, “Do we still need MDM? And if so why?”  The simple answer is YES!  While many device and operating system manufactures are building some of the common MDM features into their products the fact is that there is no standard and it is almost impossible to get any organization to standardize on a single product set.  As a result, IT organizations need a tool that will enable them to manage a broad range of devices from a single console.  The solution is one of the many MDM tools available today.  By managing all devices from a single console, IT managers can ensure that their entire asset population is adhering to the same security policies, running on a single version of the devices OS and easily access device health and usage data.

Mobile Maturity

Posted by Ashleigh Cipolla On November - 5 - 2014

 

One way to determine whether a technology market is reaching maturity is by watching the degree of consolidation that is occurring.  New technology markets often begin with a couple niche companies exploiting a portion of a given solution.  As the market grows new players enter the field and over time the strong niche players acquire the weaker in order to gain a greater share of their respective niche.  However, as the overall market matures a new phenomenon occurs in which companies in complementary niches merge to ensure their combined revenue and market share growth.  A truly mature market is one identified by a small number of large players that provide the majority if not all of the solution components.  Over the last 20 years we have witnessed this pattern in the AIDC (automated identification and data capture) market as we began with multiple small players in bar code scanning, mobile computing and wireless networking eventually consolidate until we have two primary players in the space (Zebra-Motorola and Honeywell scanning and mobility). While the AIDC hardware market is maturing there is still plenty of growth and change to be expected.  The rapid growth and acceptance of these same technologies in the consumer segment creates new opportunities for application developers, solution integrators and small and medium businesses that had not previously been able to leverage these technologies.  AIDC may be growing up but our spirit is young and opportunities abound.

5 Musts to Starting a Mobile Project

Posted by Ashleigh Cipolla On October - 16 - 2014

Include users from all areas of the business

More often than we like to admit the key decision markers for many mobile projects are limited to the business heads and IT.  However, experience has taught us that the most successful implementations include users from all business functions including field workers.  Including a wide range of user groups helps to ensure that all of the business requirements are captured and also goes a long way towards achieving buy in and support for the project.

 

Prioritize requirements

As with most things, our desires outweigh our resources.  This is often the case with mobile computing solutions as well.  However, this is not a reason for discouragement.  The key is prioritizing the requirements relative to the business needs.  Once you have a prioritized list a development plan will become clear.

 

Define phases

Local grouping the prioritized items enables the project team to create development and rollout intervals.  Creating phases allows projects to be broken down into smaller more manageable pieces and significantly reduces project risk.

 

Set mile stones

Mobile projects do not happen over night or without a goal.  Setting project miles stones enables the project team to continue monitor their progress against the plan and make adjustments if required

 

Lean forward

The only way to get to the finish line is to start the race.  Waiting for a PERFECT project definition or perfect rollout schedule will only delay your project start and ability to leverage the process and customer benefits that mobility can provide.  Even talking small steps is better than standing still.

What Will 2020 Look Like?

Posted by Ashleigh Cipolla On September - 23 - 2014

The year 2020 is less than 6 years away and the only thing I can say is that based on the last 6 years the next six years are sure to present an entirely new set of gadgets, technologies and services.  Let’s take a guess at what three common products today will look like in 2020.  The smartphone has exploded in sales over the last six years, out selling the number of people on the planet and applications numbering in the 100’s of thousands.  While today’s applications are largely entertainment in nature in 2020 the smartphone will be the console to your world.  We will use it to start our cars, lock our homes and it will be our single financial instrument for trade.  Due largely to the efforts of Tesla Motors, the electric car is coming of age.  In 2020, every auto manufacture will have one or more offerings and charging stations will be common place at your most frequent destinations (grocery stores, shopping malls and even Starbucks).  Lastly, I am constantly amazed at the service industries that continue to evolve as our society seeks to improve our life style.  While cleaning and landscaping service providers have existed for more than 100 years their growth continues to increase.  In additional to these traditional services we see newer services such as mobile mechanics and grocery delivery on a mass scale.  Convenience is in our DNA and technology will enable an entirely new set of services going forward.  What do you think 2020 will look like?

Getting to the root of who you are.

Posted by Ashleigh Cipolla On September - 17 - 2014

Often one of the most difficult tasks company’s face is how to define their place in the world and differentiate themselves from their competitors.  Every company is different, even those that provide the same product or services.  This is because companies are more than just the products and services they sell.  Companies are a collection of individuals and as such each brings a unique view of the world which influences “HOW” as opposed to “WHAT” a company produces.  It is the “HOW” that truly determines the image or brand of a company.  Taking a long look at HOW you are different from your competitors is one method for identifying your unique value.  Another method to help define your company is to look not at the items you produce but the end result of what these items produce.  A company that manufactures drill bites may describe themselves as the leading provider of “accurate holes” for cabinet manufactures.

Looking for something you cannot find?

Posted by Ashleigh Cipolla On September - 9 - 2014

With the invention of the internet and continued advancements in search engine technology, the World Wide Web has become the largest single depository of information available to man.  However, even with all this information there are still times when I cannot readily access something I am looking for.  It may be because I did not use the best search criteria or maybe it simply does not exist.  At DecisionPoint, everything we do is related to mobile computing.  As such, we have deep knowledge on this subject.  If there is something related to mobile computing that you need please give us a try.  We are eager to hear your needs and identify a solution.

3 Considerations When Selecting a Packaged Software Application

Posted by Ashleigh Cipolla On August - 27 - 2014

 

While mobile computing devices get most of the press these days, it is the mobile applications that are at the heart of every mobile computing solution.  It is the application that defines the business logic, user interface and information exchange.  When selecting a mobile application there are a number of considerations that you should take into account.

1)      Every application provider takes their unique approach to solve the business issues at hand.  Therefore, the first thing you should do is identify all of your business requirements and stack rank them against one another.  No application will have every feature that you want but using the 80/20 rule if you can get the top 80% of your requirements you will likely achieve the required ROI.

2)      Evaluate the application offering against your present and future technology requirements.  Many companies have established technology requirements on at least some segments of their business.  This is done simply to reduce the overall technology support cost.  When evaluating software applications, make sure that the application supports your technology standards

3)      User training and support is a perpetual cost and does not end until the application is decommission or replaced.  For mobile applications this time period is often between 5 and 10 years.  When selecting new applications it is important to take this user interface into account.  Complex or confusing user interfaces and workflows will increase your training and support costs for the life of project.

While there are many other considerations to take into account, getting these three right will significantly reduce your chances for making a bad choice.  For additional information on software selection please feel free to reach out to DecisionPoint Systems.

Off-the-shelf or custom?

Posted by Ashleigh Cipolla On August - 19 - 2014


With the 100’s of thousands of mobile applications available for download one would think that finding a mobile business application is a simple search away.  However, the reality is that the majority of these applications for download are consumer and or entertainment in origin.  The mobile business application market is still a niche, vertically oriented marketplace and as such, the number of applications available for any particular industry varies greatly.  For example, if you are a plumber looking for a field service application you will have many off-the-shelf applications to choose from.  However, if you are in the sign installation business your options are more limited.

Custom developed mobile applications fill to voids.  First, they provide solutions for those industries that have few current options available to them.  Second, they provide solutions for those companies that have options but do not want to conform to the business rules, user interface or support platforms that the available application provide.  Whether you select off-the-shelf or custom, the good news is that every company can leverage the business advantages provided by mobile computing solutions.  For more information on how mobile computing can help your business please give us a call.

The true cost of consumer devices

Posted by Ashleigh Cipolla On August - 12 - 2014

device2At first glance consumer smart phones are significantly cheaper than traditional ruggedized enterprise mobile computers with similar specifications.  There are a couple reasons for this difference including ruggedizing a mobile computer requires more engineering and material thus demands a higher cost.  Additionally, the sheer manufacturing volume of smart phones enable manufactures to leverage the economies of scale and thus lower the cost.  However, the most significant reason for the end user price difference is that wireless carriers subsidize the device cost in order to attract customers to sign multiple year contracts for their voice and data services.  This works to the benefit of enterprises that require wireless data and can utilize smart phones for their mobile needs.  However, there are additional cost considerations that need to be considered such as device replacement cost and peripheral costs.  Smart phones are not built to withstand excessive drops or weather.  As such, if you are operating in a harsh environment you should expect a higher device failure rate that than of an enterprise class device.  In addition to device replace cost, you need to consider user down time and customer service levels into the equation as device failure equates to lost productivity.  The second consideration is the cost associated with any required peripherals that are required to support the smart phone.  Peripherals such as barcode scanners, cases, specialized cables and battery charging equipment can significantly increase the overall cost of a consumer smart phone deployment.  The facts are that consumer smart phones have significantly expanded the user base for mobile computing applications and are suitable devices in many cases.  However, the prudent buyer evaluates the total cost of ownership before making a selection.