When making the transition to mobile, the hardest part is knowing where to start.

The age-old question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” has left even the greatest minds puzzled for centuries. Similarly, this circular dilemma has crept its way into the field service industry, leaving organizations just as confused: Which comes first, the app or the device?

Determining where to begin your transition to mobile is a crucial first step. The stakes of your decision are high, so it’s up to you to be familiar with your options.

Where to Begin

Knowing where to start your search for the perfect mobile solution can leave you feeling like a chicken with its head cut off. Because most of us like to keep our heads on , the most logical place to start is finding the right app.

Deciding on an application first will give your field service organization more flexibility when it’s time to choose a device. In other words, by choosing an application first, you’ll have more device options to choose from because you won’t have to find an app that fits the single device.

You might be asking yourself, “What if the app I want doesn’t run on the device I want?” You can solve this problem by ensuring that the app you choose runs cross-platform. A cross-platform application will allow your organization to run on any device. This means your field techs can operate on the device of your choosing, whether that be an iPad running on iOS, or Samsung Galaxy running on Android, or a Nokia Lumia running on Windows Phone just to name a few. By choosing the perfect cross-platform application, your field techs can virtually use any device.

Another reason to start mobile implementation by choosing your application is the emergence of BYOD (bring your own device). BYOD policies allow for your field techs to operate on the device of their choosing, eliminating your device decision altogether. Even if you aren’t currently practicing BYOD at your organization, choosing a cross-platform application leaves the door open if you decide to adopt the policy in the future.

Other Factors to Consider

Now that you are aware of the flexibility you gain from choosing an app before the device, there are still a number of questions to ask yourself as you complete your search for the perfect mobile field service solution.

Who should you keep in mind when choosing an app? It is important to remember that your field service techs are the ones actually using the app. For a smooth transition, you have to ensure that all of your techs are on board with your decision, and that your solution is easy to use and understand.

What are essential app functions for my organization? In order for an app to make the cut, it must be able to run natively, or offline. Often times your service technicians are working in remote locations without wireless service or Wi-Fi. In order for them to work efficiently, they must be able to receive and record information offline.

What happens when the needs of the company change? It’s inevitable that the needs of your company will change over time, so it’s essential that your app can adapt accordingly. Make sure the app provider you choose can adapt along with your organization because an app that doesn’t accommodate your evolving needs puts you back at square one: searching for a new app.

Next Steps: Educate Yourself to Execute a Strong Mobile Solution

While we might not have the chicken and the egg riddle quite figured out, we do have a pretty good idea that the app comes before the device when it comes to your field service organization. Now that you know where to start, your next step is a strong execution.

So don’t be a stranger. Subscribe to our blog for regular, educational content about succeeding in field service with a mobile solution and best practices in service management.

A Buyer’s Guide to Mobile Field Service Software: 9 Tips for Choosing a Mobile Solution that’s Right for You

In the market for a cross-platform or cloud-based mobile app for your field service organization? Learn important tips, guiding questions, and to-dos in our free, educational whitepaper: “A Buyer’s  Guide to Mobile Field Service Software.”

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