Home > Techs4Biz offer advice on finding the right handheld digital device for a project rollout

Techs4Biz offer advice on finding the right handheld digital device for a project rollout

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article image Handheld digital devices are ideal for automated data collection projects, but it is important to select the best one for the job
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Handheld digital devices are an ideal way to replace the manual data collection processes associated with the transition from old electricity meters to new Smart Meters. With this sound advice from Techs4Biz Australia , selecting the right handheld digital device for the job will be simple.

By following three simple steps, project managers can accelerate the selection process of the handheld digital device for their project rollout and ensure that their selection fits their needs.

The first step is to understand the current processes and information flow and determine the what the handheld digital device is going to acheive and the solutions it is going to provide. This can be done by completing the following tasks and answering the following questions:

  • list things that work well within the current process and things that can be improved on (it is important to focus on the process, not software or computers)
  • prioritise potential improvement areas, e.g are the installation procedures of a timely fashion, or are some installations behind their scheduled dates?
  • describe a short scenario where improvements can achieve the objectives of the project
  • who will use the system?
  • how computer proficients are the users?
  • what are the procedures for paperwork flow?
  • will the software improve this flow or make it worse?
Next, it is important to evaluate the features of the handheld digital devices offered by different solution providers and compare them to the needs of the project. Create a list of the desired features so different solutions can be compared feature to feature, without getting confused by the different vendor presentations.

When reviewing brochures of handheld digital devices offered by vendors or when speaking with sales people, it is sometimes difficult to clearly identify the differences between the packages. However, certain packages offer significantly better value than their competitors, both in terms of functionalities, ease of use, and price.

The differences between the handheld digital device packages can be highlighted in the following areas:

  • how comprehensive is their solution and their PDA software, and is it easy to learn and easy to use?
  • how easily does the PDA integrate with the desktop application and other ERP?
  • does the package enable efficient planning of activities by using schedulers and alerts, and by automating repetitive tasks? 
  • does the solution offer different levels to different users related to their responsibilities?
  • does the solution minimise unnecessary administrative tasks such as reminders?
  • does it include management functions, reports, queries and exceptions?
  • can the solution help planning and can it highlight problem areas?
Finally, when selecting the right handheld digital device solution for a project rollout it is important to determine the best value and fit. Include important factors such as the ability to tailor a solution to specific needs and the cost of the solution into the evaluation.

Once a shortlist of potential packages has been created, the following factors can be looked at to choose the right solution:

  • is the provider willing to tailor the solution to the specified needs if required?
  • can settings be customised, such as field aliases and screens available to each user?
  • will the system incorporate custom made reports?
  • will the use of the package be able to be expanded without ‘hidden’ module charges, costs and complexities?
  • does the package include future software releases, so when new and improved features are added the updates will be reeiving without excessive additional charges? 
  • is the solution within budget?
Maintaining this focused approach is the ideal way to select a handheld digital device package that is right for the application. By taking the time to systematically research and evaluate the available options, regretting hasty decisions later is avoided.

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