How to Talk to IT About Mobile Auditing Software
Mobile apps are now an essential part of workplaces today, with 9 in 10 users indicating that work-related apps have changed their business behavior. And yet, over half of professionals say their organization is slow to deliver these efficiency-boosting apps to employees.
Despite the explosive growth of software as a service (SaaS) and mobile solutions, in many industries there are still big concerns around security and reliability. At the same time, manufacturers wanting to improve compliance and reduce defects are realizing that tools like mobile audit software can unlock huge gains in productivity and effectiveness.
So how do you approach the conversation if you’re preparing to meet with your vendor management or IT steering committee about implementing mobile audit software? You’ll want to focus on key elements such as platform security, efficiency and overall reliability.
Mobile Platform Security
Security is clearly a central point of discussion when it comes to implementing any new software. Regulated industries in particular such as aerospace defense must meet strict requirements around data security as a condition of doing business with the government.
Points to highlight around security of mobile software include:
- Multi-level security options: A robust platform will allow you to use your own enterprise single sign-on procedures or configure advanced settings in the app according to your security requirements. You should even be able to set audit viewing and editing permissions down to the individual work station.
- Cloud data security: Many mobile audit solutions are available as either on-premise or cloud-based software. Cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) guarantee all platform components in the cloud application, usually strengthening security compared to having your IT department alone managing the software.
- Plant Floor Mobile Devices: Usage of mobile devices on the plant floor is growing, raising concerns around intellectual property risks. Mobile device management (MDM) solutions protect security with tools like application and device controls, geo-fencing and remote reset and locking capabilities. The key is to make sure that whatever solution you’re proposing keeps data encrypted during storage and in transit.
For defense contractors concerned with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) compliance, it’s important to work with a vendor that uses Amazon GovCloud.
Efficiency of SaaS-Based Architecture
Many companies are moving towards cloud-based mobile audit solutions because they offer distinct advantages in terms of efficiency and total cost of ownership.
For starters, there’s less infrastructure to manage. Since platform developers manage hardware and software maintenance, there’s no need for dedicated database or server administration to get the solution up and running.
There’s also an advantage in terms of capacity. Cloud platforms let you scale implementation quickly across multiple sites or users without spending large amounts of capital on homegrown systems or on-premise software. Overall, cloud solutions provide less maintenance and lower costs when you have variable demand.
Reliability Concerns Around Mobile Audit Software
Despite the fact that cloud-based mobile platforms are becoming more mainstream, many businesses are still concerned about reliability of these software solutions. When it comes to mobile audits, you want to know that your data will be there when you need it.
From an IT perspective, you want to be aware of three key reliability issues:
- Availability: Cloud providers are often superior in this area compared with internal hardware. For instance, AWS now has an uptime rating of at least 99.99%, a level of reliability that few IT departments can guarantee.
- Redundancy: Cloud-based solutions replicate computing resources across an array of computing instances, so no single hardware failure can impact the mobile audit app’s performance.
- Data Recovery: Instead of storing data on vulnerable physical devices within your organization, cloud-based mobile audit software replicates data over multiple devices and facilities, ensuring data remains encrypted in-transit and at rest.
The Business Case for Mobile Audit Software
If you’re getting ready to have a conversation with IT, it’s important to remember why you’re there in the first place. You clearly want to focus on the IT benefits, but you also need to be ready to explain the business case from a larger perspective.
Some of the biggest benefits manufacturers see with mobile audit software include:
- Lower costs: Moving from paper-based to mobile audits reduces the time needed to schedule, track and report on audits, reducing administrative overhead up to 85%.
- Increased effectiveness: Mobile audits allow users to quickly complete audits customized by work cell, assign corrective actions and upload findings for instant reporting.
- Higher engagement: Implementing mobile tools can help manufacturing shed its reputation as boring and resistant to change, helping attract and retain talented workers.
In the end, mobile audit software streamlines your work so you can focus on the important things like what the audit data actually says. With that power—and the ability to engage more of your workforce with user-friendly tools—you’re much more likely to achieve a culture of quality.
Tim Reynolds is the Director of Information Technology and Development Operations for EASE. He has over 25 years in the technology industry as a CIO, CISO and Senior Technology leader responsible for the architecture and building, securing and supporting complex systems and infrastructures for Fortune 500 companies to early stage startups. He has designed the architecture and technology solutions for companies such as XO Communications, State Farm, Penson Worldwide, FOLIOfn, InvestLab, COR Clearing, and now Beacon Quality for Ease.