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Define the business goals for mobile solutions

The planning process.

You have mobile workers. SO you have to come up with ways that those mobile workers can stay in touch with the...

company and with customers for maximum business efficiency. One of those ways will be through the use of wireless technologies. But which should you use, and how do you start to determine what those solutions and technologies are? This tip, excerpted from InformIT, discusses the first step in coming up with a mobile wireless solution: extracting information from your business operators that will show what business objectives have to be met with your mobile solution.

Since wireless solutions depend greatly on the specifics of the problem they are solving, the process of selecting the right wireless solution is greatly simplified by focusing on the business requirements first. A given business requirement, such as the ability to deliver work orders to a user who spends many hours away from convenient power sources each day, imposes some critical technical constraints that have major implications for the entire solution design. The need for long battery life drives the selection of the client device. This selection may put constraints on the size and type of display and network connectivity options, which, in turn, affect the quantity of work order data transmitted, and its formatting and presentation. The resulting wireless architecture has implications for security, support processes, development tools, and service contracts with network and software providers.

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[Defining your business requirements] defines the goals of the project (why), identifies who is going to use the solution, what functions it must perform, when its information must be available, and where the solution will be deployed. Answers to these questions are business focused, leaving the technical details for the subsequent layers. For example, we need a solution for our field service representatives that will work at any client site. It must have access to information in our corporate billing application. We need to collect time spent, actions taken, and parts used. We need to be able to print an invoice on the spot, and so on. [So] gain a thorough understanding of the business objective being addressed and conduct a detailed analysis of the environment in which the solution will operate. Use standard business analysis techniques, such as interviews, assessments of current and desired processes and tools, and documentation reviews, guided by an assessment questionnaire that focuses on the nuances of a wireless and mobile solution. The final deliverable of this phase is a formal, documented set of business requirements. This document is the starting point for developing solution requirements, supporting cost justification efforts, and soliciting proposals from external solution providers.


To read the entire article from which this tip is excerpted, click over to InformIT. You have to register there, but the registration is free.


This was last published in April 2003

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