Everything is on the cloud. A network connection is widespread. So why do mobile workers still need an offline mode when they work with data?
It is not only because they might find themselves in a place with low or no connection. Offline mode is quicker, more reliable, and supports even the strictest data security models.
All in all, an offline mode means your field workers are not looking at the loading icon on their screen when they are in a hurry and need to work.
Watch Trevor Metcalfe, North America Marketing Manager at Resco, explain the five hidden benefits of offline in detail.
The benefits of offline
A mobile client that doesn’t rely on server-based logic, data, or connectivity is much faster and more responsive for the user under all conditions.
Even with perfect 5G wireless, a mobile app that relies on this signal to operate is still more sluggish than a fully offline capable client.
The mobile experience is only as good as its worst-performing scenario. Imagine you are in the field and need to update an inspection ticket or look up a historical client work order.
If you are waiting seconds or minutes until you can complete the task, it’s not only frustrating and inconvenient at the moment. It also erodes your faith that the app will work in the future. It may mean a field-based employee decides not to add data or might decide to wait until they are back in the office/closer to a better wireless region.
For example, a similar situation happened to Opticomm, one of Australia’s largest network infrastructure operators.
“We have been using an older, web-based mobile solution that wasn’t regularly maintained and, therefore, rarely worked properly. That resulted in low user adoption. Technicians had to do a lot of manual activity and time-consuming efforts to activate and install new equipment,“ stated Ben Liew, Chief Network Officer at OptiComm.
When Opticomm switched to a new, more consistent solution, user adoption among their technicians significantly increased.
Having all the functionality a field-based worker needs right there on the device means they never have to think twice about getting the job done with a workflow they can trust.
Field-based work can be challenging enough, but imagine having to tweak your workflow to get your job done based on whether you have a serviceable wireless connection or not.
With an offline-capable client, a worker can get their job done and let the data sync and other server-side actions take care of themselves later.
If field-based workers can be confident that they can do everything they need in real-time, it’s a huge efficiency driver. They are not wasting time waiting for connectivity. They are inputting data and doing their job at the optimal moment.
Suppose someone has to wait until they get back within wireless coverage or even until they are at a PC. This not only extends their working day, which can impact job satisfaction. In that case, it means there is a gap between when they do the job and when they record the full details for the system of record. This can result in details being forgotten, work being rushed, or potentially not being tracked at all.
This was the case at Southern States Toyota Lift, an authorized Toyota Forklift dealer in Florida and Georgia, US. The salespeople used Excel spreadsheets. When they digitized the processes using advanced mobility, the company revenue increased by $350k/month thanks to improved efficiency of data input and processing.
For certain organizations, security is a major consideration. The ability for field-based workers to be able to work with a full offline dataset and only sync when they are within a sanctioned network environment is massive.
Both customer and provider can be assured that the highest data security models are being upheld.
How to recognize an app with an effective offline mode
Not all offline modes on apps for field workers are equal. So, how do you recognize an excellent offline mode?
First and foremost, it is customizable. An admin can make sure field workers can access precisely the data they need in the offline mode. This makes the app quicker and more responsive.
A stable and customizable offline mode is crucial when you store and transfer a lot of data. Thinking about it early on will save you a headache as your organization grows.
At Resco, we are developing software with an offline mode in mind. Our products can handle millions of records and complex tables. Our customers and partners have control over what is being synchronized.
Simply said, Resco puts the five hidden benefits of offline into plain sight.