In the areas of Quality Control and EHS Management, the transformation to the mobile enterprise is beginning to gain traction. As with most newe technology platforms, the initial trends in adopting mobile apps has been adding functionality to legacy enterprise systems. However, that is not where the real value of an increasingly mobile enterprise will be realized.
Audit management is a key process that cuts across industries and, because of that ubiquity, it is one of the best processes to transform with mobile devices and apps. Most audits take place in the field; they require agility and a tablet computer can easily replace the traditional clipboard. Having the right mobile app, such as EZ FORMS, for audit management is important for maximizing business productivity. Here are four things to look for in a mobile auditing app:
1. User Interface - Simple yet Sophisticated
When we look at mobile apps, less is sometimes more. You have less "real estate" to work with on an tablet computer or smart phone, so it's necessary to strip the interface down to its base essentials. Do away with excessive graphics and imagery so that you can leverage the audit details as much as possible. Checklists need to be readily available, questions need to have enough space to formulate comprehensive answers, and you need to be able to conduct the audit with no distractions from the interface.
On the flip side, you need to have a level of sophistication in the mobile app. It has to have the same business logic you enjoy with the enterprise solution, just in a more bare-bones layout. Don't sacrifice form for function.
2. Utilizes Native Mobile Functions
One of the nice things about mobile is some of the extras that come with the hardware. Tablets and smartphones come with plenty of common tools that could potentially be useful in the field. A mobile audit management app should leverage these native functions to your advantage. With the built-in photo and image capture technology of smart mobile devices, adding photos that can be included in the audit record is easily accomplished. This is a huge benefit to the mobile concept, and provides much more depth of explanation and detail than a clipboard ever could.
3. Offline Auditing Support
A big benefit of mobile solutions is the ability to conduct an audit with the mobile device and app whether you are online or offline. Though WiFi connectivity seems ubiquitous, there are invariably times, particularly in the field, when access is spotty or just not available. This should not stop your ability to conduct an audit. Having an offline capability in your audit management system will enable you to continue to conduct the audit, fill out questions, run through checklists, and save the data until you come back into a WiFi spot, or 3G area. You can then sync your audit findings with the main enterprise solution and continue to route the audit when you're back at your workstation.
4. Mobilization Platform versus Single Mobile Solution
Often, Mobile is limited to a single type of workflow, form, or process. This is because the platform is developed specifically for a single purpose. The different between a mobile application and a mobile platform is the ability to "mobilize" the many aspects of your enterprise solution. Having an enterprise system that allows you to take the forms, workflows and processes in your primary solution and mobilize anything is the difference here. You can essentially turn any application in your enterprise into a mobile app - this allows you to control what becomes a mobile app, versus being limited by the apps that are put in front of you. Having the ability to mobilize your enterprise Quality or EHS management system provides greater visibility and flexibility into how you deploy a mobile solution to the business.
Mobile applications and the mobile market is growing, and in the next year to 18 months we'll see a groundswell of innovation in the industry in terms of extending mobile to business operations across the enterprise.