Connectivity has become an intrinsic part of our lives, both at home and at work. There is even a recently launched iPhone app that allows users to message each other via Bluetooth in places where there is no wifi or cellular network.
In the corporate world, it seems likely there will always be some locations too remote or too impractical to provide network coverage for. There may be cellular coverage, but that may not permit access to the corporate network.
This leads to strangled operations limiting efficiency in processing a whole host of data that could have a huge impact on cost and resources. There is a decision to be made between the cost of coverage against the efficiency and operational advantages.
Which leaves the question as to how to capture ad hoc risks or even fully audit such a site.
Risk capture on remote sites
There is, of course, the good old paper option! Fill in forms and then input them when back at a desk. This is probably the way most organisations manage.
However, I have been exploring ways that mobile devices could be used to capture data within a hosted risk management system on a site without wifi coverage.
There would be many advantages to doing this, not least the ability to capture video and images of the risks as they are found and upload them automatically alongside the detail of the risk itself. It also avoids the need for duplication of effort and potential error when copying from a written report. And it’s faster.
BYOD or CYOD?
This does bring challenges in terms of devices. Many employees would not want to take their own personal devices on site and use them for a work purpose, believing that if such a device was needed for work, then they should be provided with one.
Even where there is a ‘bring your own device’ policy in place, there are, as you will know, challenges around support and security. The more recent trend towards ‘choose your own device’ from a pre-selected pool may be the better option to provide more of the workforce with access to mobile devices.
Service provider network access
Another added dimension are third parties managing clients’ systems and infrastructure. They will have their own systems and will want to use these to manage the account. These systems will provide additional innovation and efficiency were undoubtedly part of the reason why they won the contract in the first place – preventing or limiting access countermands that very purpose.
The in-house IT department may be reluctant to allow the third parties’ devices to connect to their network because of the challenges that can bring and perhaps due to not seeing that the benefits to the enterprise of extending access to the network far outweigh the effort.
Optimising browser memory
One possible solution is the use of mobile devices, particularly tablets, which are already being used to capture anything from a small ad hoc risk, right up to a full-blown audit and my vision is to extend that into locations outside wifi or network range using the browser memory. Optimising memory use is a key factor to ensure that all the data captured can be stored and then uploaded to the risk management system once within network range.
I will keep you posted on developments!