Consider these suggestions for guiding tablet rollouts:
1. Get customers involved early.
It's important to get their opinion early in the development process. It's the difference between getting cooperation versus them thinking that management is trying to shove technology down their throats, says Vincent Maniscalco, assistant commissioner of New York City Department of Transportation's Highway Inspection and Quality Assurance division.
2. Consider custom applications.
Off-the-shelf software may cost less and be easier to deploy, but it may not provide you the functionality you need, says Joseph Yacca, director for operations at DOT's HIQA. "Look to incorporate your ideas, and build what suits your needs," he says.
3. Start small.
When developing a custom application, some IT organizations make the mistake of spending a year on development before users actually see something. Instead, develop a prototype rapidly, so you can get immediate feedback that you're on the right track, advises New York City DOT CTO Cordell Schachter.
4. Perform an efficiency study.
If the goal is to go paperless with tablets, perform an efficiency study to document the current paper processes. Map out the workflow from the moment a piece of paper is generated to final action. Include every person who has to look at the paper and approve it. This helps you to develop the software to streamline the process, says Jen Koppel, deputy director of administration for Lancaster County's Mental Health/Mental Retardation/Early Intervention office.
5. Purchase a warranty.
Most tablet manufacturers offer a one-year warranty. For extra protection, Lancaster County purchased a three-year warranty from a third party. If there's accidental damage or repairs are needed, that third-party company will take care of it, says Rick Mutzel, MH/MR/EI's director of data integrated services.