April 20, 2016

The ABC’s for Adoption of Mobile Data Tools

The ABC’s for Adoption of Mobile Data Tools

Here at TaroWorks, we know how difficult it is for field staff to successfully adopt mobile data collection which is why we had our Technical Account Manager, Erin Yamaoka, take you through the ABC’s of mobile adoption. Below is a summary of Erin’s strategies for successful adoption.



First and foremost, you need to ensure that there is a single point of ownership over the mobile technology. This will reduce any confusion within your organization. In addition to assigning a person as ‘owning’ the mobile tech, this person will also need to effectively…

-Champion the technology.

-Be able to understand and communicate the value of the mobile tech.

Remember, this person in your organization will be committed to combatting any fear, frustration or distrust of the mobile technology in your field staff and ultimately be a critical player in whether your field staff successfully adopts the mobile technology or not.



Clear and effective communication is key to having your field staff buy-in to your new mobile tool. When speaking with your field staff you need to be open and honest on…

  1. how mobile users will benefit, and
  2. how the organization will benefit. In addition, make it clear that the new mobile tool is a mechanism for continuous improvement and will help make their work easier and enable them to do even better work.

Keep in mind communication and end-user involvement in the implementation process will also mitigate the fear and distrust of the unknown. Piloting your technology and rolling it out in a phased approach allows you to incorporate more user feedback before exposing your mobile solution to more field staff. With a phased roll-out, it’s also easier to set the expectation that the solution isn’t expected to be perfect or permanent at the start.


Capacity Building

This the most important building block to mobile data adoption.  In order to build capacity, make sure your field staff trains on the mobile device itself from the beginning. During your training session(s), make sure you cover…

– Skills needed for immediate pilot and future expansion.

– Troubleshooting common issues.

Another key part of your capacity building will be role playing which will help your field staff to practice what they have learned and showcase that they understand how to use the new device. When it comes to role playing, make sure to practice the following…

– Role play with focus on the device.

– Role play with focus on soft skills, like how they should respond to various questions.


Device Selection

When it comes to choosing a device, make sure you do the following..

– Field test with a few devices before committing to a large purchase order.

– Think about whether the device can withstand various weather conditions. It’s not always warm and sunny in the field! Or, sometimes it’s so sunny that you’ll have issues with glare!

– Be sure the device has adequate battery life. Poor battery life will hinder your operations in the field. If the battery isn’t adequate, look into solar chargers or other backup options.

– Test out the network (requirements for GPS or network access).

– Get feedback from your field staff about security concerns with devices.

– Don’t skimp on add-ons (SD cards, chargers).


Established Support Processes

Emphasizing that they are not alone – and that there will be support will help mitigate fear and frustration of your field staff. Some tips:

– First, have paper references, especially if you are just switching from paper to mobile forms. Paper references will act as a ‘security blanket’ for your organization.

– Second, clearly communicate steps of recourse. Make it known that if something goes wrong, it’s going to be OK as there are processes in place that will get everything back to the way it should be.

– Third, plan for edge cases and worst case scenarios. Make sure you have a backup plan.

– Fourth, purchase back-up devices. Devices will be get broken, lost etc. Always have spare devices available for your staff so your organization don’t lose valuable work time.


For all the details, watch the full webinar above! If you still have questions, email us at hello@taroworks.org!


About the author...

This is the "wpengine" admin user that our staff uses to gain access to your admin area to provide support and troubleshooting. It can only be accessed by a button in our secure log that auto generates a password and dumps that password after the staff member has logged in. We have taken extreme measures to ensure that our own user is not going to be misused to harm any of our clients sites.


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