The monthly e-newsletter for the community
Vol. 3, No. 2, February 28, 2003

Editor's Note

Call for entries: The 2003 FFAst Track Awards program is underway. The FFAst Track Awards honor the most effective mobile technology deployments by field service and field sales organizations. Any organization that has deployed a solution primarily to improve the work processes of field service or field sales employees is eligible. Entries are due April 1. For more information, download the Adobe Acrobat PDF document today.

The Top Story

  • Rugged and Ready

Field Force Perspectives

This Month in Field Force Automation

  • Exclusive Book Excerpt: Wireless, Inc.
    A no-nonsense approach for creating wireless strategies and tactics that reduce costs, increase revenues and improve business operating efficiency.
  • AvantGoing, Going, Gone to iAnywhere
    Sybase subsidiary and mobile database leader iAnywhere Solutions purchases Web content provider AvantGo.
  • How Much Do Execs Value Field Serivce?
    A recent survey shows that while CEOs place value on field service, they seem slow to automate it.

Sponsor Spot

  • NEC Solutions America
  • Broadbeam

Special Events

  • Gartner's CRM Summit
  • National Manufacturing Week
  • CTIA Wireless 2003
  • Research In Motion Wireless Enterprise Symposium

Rugged and Ready

Driven by homeland security needs, the latest rugged computers boast new form factors, integrated wireless and other nifty features—oh, and they take a beating, too.

By V. Wade Contreras

As the number of mobile workers has grown over the past few years, so too has the need for mobile computing devices to keep them productive in the field. More and more, companies are realizing the need to outfit their field force with ruggedized devices to keep data secure and downtime to a minimum. The proliferation of rugged devices brings a whole new type of field force installation and a bit of a learning curve.

To make informed buying decisions, one needs to understand the different levels of ruggedization and which jobs call for them, the various device specification criteria and which feature sets to expect for the price. Yes, there’s a lot to keep up on, but give us 15 minutes and this industry update should familiarize you with the latest ruggedized lingo, introduce you to a few of the newest products and let you in on some of the latest trends in the marketplace.

Is It Really Necessary?
First off, why go ruggedized? For one, return on investment. Let’s suppose company XYZ has outfitted its field force with non-ruggedized laptops and handhelds. But the equipment keeps coming back to the shop broken, without fulfilling its life expectancy. This means workers are spending way too much time without their critical data and tools in the field. And too much worker downtime inevitably leads to decreased customer satisfaction, which means poor ROI. In fact, ruggedized device durability and its potential ROI has led to some laptop-toting road warriors to make the jump to rugged.


Click Here to read this article in full.

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FFA Insider

Carpe Mobile

There's no need to wait to automate, argues one software CEO.

By Mark Tapling

Mobile business process automation provides companies a valuable tool for implementing workflow changes that can deliver competitive advantage-without the expense, resistance and disruption associated with bleeding-edge, high-tech deployments. In simple terms, mobile business process automation, or mobile task automation, describes the automation of selected business-critical processes, such as the checking of inventory levels, placing of orders or viewing of customer history. Many companies have already implemented the state-of-the-art business systems they need in order to make these processes more efficient. Unfortunately, these applications are usually only accessible from desktop systems, while the employees who most need immediate access to them are often away from their desks on sales or service calls.

By making these automated tasks available to mobile staff with handheld devices, companies can reap tremendous efficiency gains-and realize a greater return on investment from their business applications. Mobile technologies have made significant progress; most of them are now robust and flexible enough to provide reliable live or disconnected-mode support to mobile staff.

Extend competitive reach while reducing expense
In the late '90s, the IPO market rewarded companies that captured market share, even if they had large operating losses. Companies believed expansion and high operating expenses were an indicator of competitive advantage. Multibillion dollar global organizations traded shrinking profits on a per-customer and per-unit basis for the massive equity returns of global expansion and increased market share. Only now are businesses beginning to see there is a way to extend competitive reach while reducing expenses: By carefully evaluating its competitive effectiveness in chosen markets and targeting its efforts on the business processes and technologies that have the greatest potential for increasing staff productivity and customer satisfaction.

Overcoming the resistance to change
Changing spreadsheets to theoretically balance expense with the current sales forecasts is far easier than changing people's actual behaviors in order to achieve that balance. In times of crisis, people prefer to "lie low" and avoid risk. New strategies seem risky, and teams often become cautious when the organization most needs aggressive execution. By designing and automating more efficient processes, such as go-to-market distribution and operating tasks, organizations can speed strategy implementation to expand or re-establish competitive advantage.

Deploy low-risk, high-return technology
When organizations focus on managing risk, they protect cash aggressively and are reluctant to spend money on new technology. But maintaining competitive advantage in radically contracting markets requires a more sophisticated approach to cost cutting than squeezing a percentage out of each line item in the operating expense budget. It requires the willingness to make investments that will more than pay for themselves in increased productivity, efficiency gains and incremental revenues. Businesses can virtually eliminate the risk of deploying new systems by using proven technology to automate strategic business tasks whose benefits have already been determined.

[Mark Tapling is CEO of Everypath, a mobile task automation software company based in San Jose, Ca. He can be reached at .]


Exclusive Book Excerpt: Wireless, Inc.
A no-nonsense approach for creating wireless strategies and tactics that reduce costs, increase revenues and improve business operating efficiency.

AvantGoing, Going, Gone to iAnywhere
Sybase subsidiary and mobile database leader iAnywhere Solutions purchases Web content provider AvantGo.

How Much Do Execs Value Field Serivce?
A recent survey shows that while CEOs place value on field service, they are slow to automate it.


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NEC Solutions America
Imagine automating your entire field force in 10 days. No, really. Rapid generation and deployment of custom forms, without custom programming. ASP service - hardware included. The MobilePro Field Data System. Only from NEC Solutions America. For the white paper "Why Rapid Deployment is the Key to ROI in Field Automation," click here.

Powerful. Integrated. Easy-to-use. It's the Mobile Solutions Systems, new from Broadbeam, the proven leader in designing, developing and deploying mobile business solutions. Discover how MSS can increase the efficiency of your mobile workforce.
Go to for a free trial version of MSS today!

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Gartner's CRM Summit
March 3-5, 2003
Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers

Gartner's CRM Summit is not the typical, superficial, ten-thousand-foot picture that leaves you to figure out the details. This event is independent, unbiased, and goes as deep as you can get on everything from vendor rating and contract negotiation to best practices for rescuing--and reinventing--a failed CRM project. For more information, visit Gartner's Website.

National Manufacturing Week
March 3-6, 2003
McCormick Place

National Manufacturing Week combines six events in one location: National Design Engineering, National Plant Engineering & Facilities Management, CleanTech, National Industrial Automation, National Enterprise IT and the new Technology Transfer Conference & Expo. For more information, visit

CTIA Wireless 2003
March 17-19, 2003
Morial Convention Center
New Orleans

CTIA WIRELESS 2003 brings together all the industries touched by wireless, in one place for three intense days. This global event draws not only the traditional wireless audience of network providers, carriers and manufacturers, but also brings in the users of wireless such as healthcare, government, military and automotive, just to name a few. The primary goal is to unite different industries by encouraging the exchange of ideas, partnerships and collaboration.

Research In Motion Wireless Enterprise Symposium
May 6-7
Marriott New Orleans

The Wireless Enterprise Symposium focuses specifically on leveraging wireless technologies to extend the enterprise. The symposium addresses the entire spectrum of wireless business, technology and customer centric initiatives to extend the corporate enterprise, resulting in real business advantages. For more information, visit

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NEC Solutions America



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